Despite the outcry within Katima Mulilo Town that there is a significant number of undeveloped plots that were allocated to residents in fully serviced residential areas, where owners are reluctant or unable to develop them, the CEO of the Katima Mulilo Town Council Charles Nawa says council will not repossess such plots but rather charge residents heavily in rates and taxes.
“You cannot reclaim something which has been registered by the owner; if you have purchased the plot and that plot is already transferred into your name, there’s no way the town council can reclaim that plot,” explained the CEO.
Previously, in an exclusive interview with New Era, Nawa stated that if people will not develop their plots council will begin taking action by re-allocating the land to those who need them the most.
When reminded of this statement and pressed to elaborate whether the town council will do nothing while plots remain undeveloped, Nawa simply said: “If you go to Shoprite and buy a bread, and you sit with the bread at your house and you don’t eat it, could someone come and ask you why are you not eating your bread?”
Pressed further Nawa revealed the town council does not have the power to repossess plots, however they can only charge the owners an extra amount if the land remains undeveloped.
“According to the local authority Act our policy allows us to charge those people after a period of two years what we call penalty rates and taxes, so that’s what the law provides, and we are doing that but the mandate of forcing them to construct or reclaim the plots is something that’s above the local authority Act,” he elaborated.
Nawa further stated that if the debt accumulates people will be forced to build and if they do not build council will then take further action. Nawa however could not be drawn into revealing what further action will be taken and whether currently there are individuals whom council should act against.
“That information is treated as confidential,” he said.
Last year the Katima Mulilo Town Council was put under immense pressure after a group of youths of about 1 000 who called themselves ‘Lwa Yaha’, literally translated as we build, resorted to grabbing land. It was later resolved that this group will be given 1 000 unserviced plots and Nawa says the outcome has been positive.
“There is progress on those portions of Lwa Yaha, and so far we have started doing the roads and planning, and surveying is almost done, and soon will start giving those people plots to start building their houses,” said the CEO of Katima Mulilo.