City to provide land to over 20 000 people this year

The Windhoek City Council is to provide a total of 20 000 heads of households in Windhoek’s informal settlements with acknowledgment of occupation certificates and lease agreements this year. This will enable the benefiting households to live without fear of eviction, require that they pay minimal rent for the structure they occupy, and know with certainty that they are part of an upgrading process.   

At the same time, the city will issue notices to households to vacate dangerous and unsuitable areas outside declared reception areas such as powerline servitude, public open spaces, road reserves or areas reserved for other uses. The approval was granted during a special council meeting on Thursday.

According to the council, the acknowledgment of occupation certificate expires on formalisation of the informal settlement or relocation of the household to a planned area where lease or sale contracts will be entered into for land or housing.

The certificate condition is that no person owns or occupies more than one dwelling structure in the informal settlements of Windhoek.

The city council also approved the ownership of over 191 plots at Erf 3097 in Düsseldorf, and Erf 3814 in Müchen, streets in Otjomuise to eight self-help groups. The allocation will be handled under the flexible Land Tenure Act, 2012. The benefiting groups are Humble Valley (28 households), Shangwana (30), Ronga Nerama (25), Natangwe (35), Winners (29), Twindileni (24), Tunombil (20) and Twasindana.

The council further approved the formalisation of 99 erven at Freedom Land B, which will pave the way for carrying out required statutory procedures which include a need and desirability application to the Namibian Planning Advisory Board and motivation of the development to the township board. 

Windhoek Mayor Fransina Kahungu remarked during the council meeting: “All these are good things. We are giving land to the people.” The city council will also provide 304 erven to households who will be relocated from the Monte Christo Road reserve in Havana and a portion in Goreangab informal settlement to the pave way for a new residential development at Ongos Valley Phase 1 and Goreangab Waterfront mixed residential development.

The council indicated that Monte Christo Road is critical to the development of Ongos Valley Phase 1, being the shortest and most practical access route and being the bulk service link for water and electricity supply to the development.  The council further said that to ensure the relocations of households are carried out without delay the developer offered to provide basic services at the relocation site at own cost.

After the meeting, Kahungu elaborated: “We want to provide land. Our concentration is not housing this time. We are putting more emphasis on the provision of land and not just land but ownership to land.”

She added that once they are given certificates occupants do not need to be afraid to be evicted which will allow them to engage in economic and social activities.

Kahungu said that people whom they are giving land to now are the same people on the city’s housing waiting list which is being systematically dealt with.

 “Take note many of these people who occupied land illegally, so to say procedurally, are members of saving groups while others who occupied land unprocedural are also the same people on the waiting list. So, if we start with registration (issuing acknowledgment certificates), it will help us determine the real need,” she said. When approached regarding the eight self-help groups that got land, Shack Dwellers Federation national facilitator Edith Mbanga said she was happy hearing about the approval. 

“We can start building. We are on that land since 2008 without any agreement signed,” Mbanga said, adding that she learned the news from the reporter and was waiting to hear from the Windhoek City Council.