WINDHOEK, 15 JUN – The exorbitant prices of land and housing are one of the main reasons why there is an increase in shacks in urban areas, Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Derek Klazen said Thursday.
He said this in the National Assembly in response to questions by United Democratic Front leader Apius Auchab, who asked why shacks continue to define the housing system in urban areas.
He raised the concern that shacks constitute about 40 per cent of housing in several regions and are most prominent in regions such as Hardap, Khomas, Erongo and Kavango East.
Klazen explained that the high number of shacks in urban areas can be attributed to lack of income and unemployment due to constrained economic growth.
The lack of credit and financial support for low income earners, he added, is another reason why people resort to shacks.
“The cost of land planning and servicing, as well as development and consequent high prices thereof are often beyond the affordability of the majority of the needy,” he said.
Another aspect that drives the masses into the shacks is greed and speculative activities by those with the means to acquire and develop land, he said.
The deputy minister said the pricing of land surveying, engineering designs and housing construction is unreasonably high and out of reach, even for those who are employed.
Klazen stressed that it will take collective efforts from local authorities and other stakeholders to address Namibia’s housing backlog.
He however indicated that there are several government interventions to address the housing crisis in the country.
One such intervention is the Flexible Land Tenure Act of 2012, which seeks to ease the planning, servicing and ownership of land in informal.
The other is the Regional and Urban Planning Act of 2018, which streamlines and decentralises certain decision-making processes away from central government to local government, he said.
Other initiatives include the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia, the Build Together Programme and the approval of public, private partnerships in land servicing and housing developments.