Oshikuku Constituency Councillor Modestus Amutse has said it is time Namibia considers developing industries on a wider scale in rural areas to prevent the constant displacement of the people from their villages in an effort to expand towns’ boundaries.
According to Amutse, the major reason towns are expanding at a fast rate causing unnecessary displacement of people from their villages, is people are migrating to towns every day in search of employment and better lives.
Because of the influx, more land to build houses for accommodation is needed, causing discomfort and constant displacement of villagers who are finding their homesteads on the outskirts of towns.
“Communal land is also now scarce, people have nowhere to go. Even if you ask the senior chiefs they will tell you that they do not have enough in their derestriction anymore.
“They do not have enough land to settle people that are displaced by urbanisation. It is better to build factories within the villages. That way people will not have to leave their homesteads in large numbers in search of employment,” narrated Amutse.
The councillor further appealed to government to engage banks in discussions that would encourage people to live in the rural areas, by funding the construction of modern houses in areas that have not yet been proclaimed as towns.
“If people like teachers, nurses and other working masses living in the rural areas cannot be allowed to use their housing scheme to build houses in villages how can we curb urbanisation?” he asked.
Amutse maintained that town expansions have positive and negative effects on the country and if Namibia is not careful, there may be no grazing land in the next 20 years if a balance is not created between the establishment and expansion of towns and the maintenance of communal land.
Rural areas remain the source of livelihood for the majority of Namibians and without the proper regulation of urbanisation, many lives in rural areas could be destroyed.
“They’ll build but at the same time people need to eat. If we want factories why not build some in the villages? That way we are promoting the concept of rural development, creating employment, sustain farming and food production and avoiding the rate of crime that comes with urbanisation,” said Amutse.
The Oshikuku councillor thus maintained that the Local Authorities Act needs to be revised. He said he is against the practice by a number of local authorities, mostly in the northern regions, that have now taken the route of impounding livestock found roaming within town land.
According to him, at times local authorities have not compensated the villagers affected by the town expansion but they still take livestock into custody, yet such villagers have no means to find alternative grazing areas.
“I am against that. If animals are moving in town, cars have lights if it’s at night. In Europe, today they have a policy to develop their town without disturbing agricultural land,” he said.