Amupanda eyes City farms

Amupanda was the first person to raise alarm – back in 2015 – that the City is renting land for as little as N$7 000, while young professionals cannot afford homes in Windhoek.

11 May 2021 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES







WINDHOEK

The City of Windhoek management and its mayor Job Amupanda are at odds over the future of the capital’s lucrative surrounding farms, with the latter insisting that the land must be used to address the housing crisis.

Management is, however, of view that the four commonage farms, measuring a total of about 20 000 hectares, are not suitable for housing purposes because they are situated within the Aquifer Protection Zone, which is a crucial water source for Windhoek’s over 400 000-strong population.

This information comes at a time when the municipality is grappling to control mushrooming informal settlements. In its latest budget, N$104 million has been allocated to upgrade these settlements.

The current tenants on these farms are using them for accommodation, livestock farming, game farming and other recreational activities.

Amupanda was the first person to raise alarm – in 2015 – that the City is renting land, some portions measuring up to 3 400 hectares, for as little as N$7 000, while young professionals cannot afford homes in Windhoek.

Opposing views

With some of the agreements for these farms due to expire as soon as 2024, Amupanda is adamant they won’t be renewing anything.

“We are busy studying and analysing what we found and included on that list is these farms. Remember that the City has been a garden of corruption for the few. We will get to every corrupt transaction and reverse it,” he said.

Meanwhile, the City’s acting CEO George Mayumbelo said water is a scarce resource and its viability must be protected at all costs, and this includes the Aquifer Protection Zone and ensuring that land within the area is preserved in its natural form or is used minimally with land-uses that are environmentally friendly, as per the Windhoek Town Planning Scheme.

Cushy leases

In 2015, The Namibian reported that the City leases 5 900 hectares to a certain Tony Rossouw for about N$14 000.

Moltkeblick Game Farm is leased for a period of 60 years, of which 42 years remain, at a monthly cost of N$37 738.

Trustco Group Holdings, which leases 4 000 hectares of commonage at N$9 764 per month, uses the land for game and livestock farming.

However, recent media reports suggested that some of these farms do not have clauses which would allow the municipality to opt out of the lease, even after giving tenants a notice to vacate.

Namibia’s housing and land crisis has reached humanitarian crisis levels in the last few years as the country is battling a backlog of more than 300 000 units.

Given this lack of housing and affordable serviced land, more and more people find themselves moving into informal settlements and recent statistics show that close to one million Namibians live in shacks, of which over 300 000 are in Windhoek alone.

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