Land sold without ministerial approval costs the government dearly and is of great concern to the Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa, who warned officials that make themselves guilty of this and other corrupt under-the-table dealings to repent, or face the consequences.
The minister noted with great concern that from investigations conducted by the ministry of urban and rural development, it emerged that some local authorities are involved in the illicit sale and/or allocation of large portions of land without following the prescribed ministerial procedures.
This, she says, results in the slow delivery of serviced land and also frustrates Namibians, who in turn raise their ire against the government.
Shaningwa was speaking at the opening of a high-level two-day consultative retreat in Swakopmund, which is being attended by regional governors, chairpersons of regional councils, mayors, councillors, as well as chief regional and executive officers of local authorities across the country.
“These corrupt land allocations must stop. What are you up to and who are you to go above the authority? If you don’t stop I will expose you. Just this morning a person called me, who is willing to give up land that was dubiously allocated. You’re costing the government and the Swapo party,” the minister let it be known.
These type of clandestine dealings result in people demonstrating against the government, she said.
“People know who you are and I know too. I can go to the President if I have to. I don’t have time to attend to such issues, as our mandate is to provide speedy services that will in turn satisfy our residents,” Shaningwa said. She added that such dubious allocations slow down land and service delivery.
“We must critically analyse these predicaments and do way with bureaucracy and deliver land as fast as possible,” she advised. She added that shortcuts and avoiding laid-down procedures would not be tolerated and called upon officials to ensure their decisions on land are carried out in line with the prescribed processes, and more importantly, are transparent.
“It’s not only corrupt when one misuses finances, but corruption can also be orchestrated in decisions that are made. This clearly leads to what I would term ‘organised chaos’ and subsequently to the slow pace of service delivery,” the minister said.
“Therefore, I’m urging you to give priority to the most needy when you are allocating opportunities related to land and housing. I discourage favouritism, nepotism, greed and self-enrichment, and the allocation of large pieces of land to one individual or institution,” the minister further stated.