Urban and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa has applauded the Oshakati Town Council for responding to government’s call to address the country’s heightening housing backlog by making land available at affordable prices to citizens.
Shaningwa said she noted since taking office that Oshakati Town Council is selling a piece of land between 300 and 350 square metres for between N$20 000 and N$30 000 to the lower segment of aspiring homeowners.
The minister made her remarks whilst giving her recommendations on the high-level two-day consultative retreat at Swakopmund last week.
The consultative retreat was attended by regional governors, chairpersons of regional councils, mayors, councillors, as well as chief regional and executive officers of local authorities across the country who caucused on how they can contribute to the successful implementation of the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development is, under the Harambee plan, tasked to deliver at least 20 000 new houses, approximately 26 000 residential plots, ensure the eradication of the bucket system by the end of 2017, as well as construct 50 000 toilets over the planned period.
Shaningwa described the delivery requirements as a daunting task and called for collaborative action at all levels.
“The targets are very high and cannot be achieved by a business-as-usual approach. We need new ideas to ensure the targets are met,” she said.
“If we can at least deliver 5 000 plots and 6 500 houses or more per year, then we are on track. Therefore, we should take lessons from Oshakati Town Council. They are really catering for the lower segments of our residents. Their prices are affordable.”
“I must applaud the Oshana Region, especially Oshakati, for going the right way as I witness how much land has been sold in this manner to the lower income residents at the town,” the minister explained.
She then urged councils not to lose sight of their primary mandate, which is to provide affordable housing and land to residents.
“We are here to provide and do justice to our people. The poor are the majority who voted us into power. Let us all take a look at how Oshakati is doing things and also make land available to our people the same way in other towns,” she said.
She however warned councils to only avail one plot per person to address the backlog and to avoid their actions being questioned.
According to the minister there are currently more than 27 000 serviced erven across the country and 80 000 demarcated erven in Namibia, which only need funding for servicing.