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City acknowledges land delivery challenges

The City of Windhoek says it is not in a dire financial situation, but is faced with challenges in providing serviced land, which are complex and multifaceted.

The city said this in a statement yesterday in response to an article published in The Namibian yesterday in which Landless People’s Movement (LPM) councillor and former mayor Sade Gawanas said the city cannot provide serviced land to the over 40 000 applicants on its database.

This is due to financial constraints, she said.

Gawanas made these remarks at a community engagement in the Katutura Central constituency on Saturday.

Windhoek mayor Joseph Uapingene on Monday said: “The council has approved the servicing and development of two townships, but there is no hard cash at hand to roll out the process at this moment.

“We are thus exploring avenues through which these developments can be funded, but I cannot divulge more information on that right now.”

He said the council intends to service and develop land as a city project without the involvement of a third party.

“Private developers inflate their prices, and this leads to a high cost per housing unit. We are planning to construct affordable housing,” Uapingene said.

In yesterday’s statement, the city said like any other global city, it is haunted by the legacy of a significant backlog of land applicants, which has been exacerbated by rapid population growth and the increasing demand for serviced land and housing as a result of the dynamics of rural-to-urban migration.

The statement also stressed the outcome of the 2011 census, which put Windhoek’s population at 326 000 inhabitants – “27% of which live in informal settlements, thus emphasising the need for affordable housing and serviced land”.

Furthermore, according to the city, the population of Windhoek has been growing at a rate of 3,3% per year from 2001 to 2011, resulting in the population doubling in 21 years.

“A closer look reveals that the population at informal settlements has been growing at a much faster rate of 6,1% per year, with a doubling time of 11 years.

“Consequently, the city has been receiving an average of 13 000 people or 3 000 households yearly, of which 7 000 people or 2 000 households go directly to the informal settlements,” the city revealed.


The city maintained that funding for servicing land in informal areas is sourced through a mixed blend of financing through normal credit facilities, while informal settlements benefit from specially arranged credit facilities where feasible, combined with the city’s own funding or central government support for indigent cases.

“The current focus is on completing the statutory planning of 15 000 erven, supporting public-private partnerships in completing the servicing of the remaining erven, and assisting private land developers in unlocking 10 000 housing opportunities, while maintaining municipal land development standards,” the city said, but added that these approaches to land delivery and housing provision cannot be seen as “one size fits all”.

Furthermore, the city said its collaborative efforts with the regional council and central government, combined with prudent planning, could lead to a more sustainable solution for providing serviced land and affordable housing.

“The commitment to affordable housing and the urgency to review policies indicate a positive direction for the city’s future development,” it said.