AR turns to High Court

The Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement argues in court papers that the industrialisation minister is duty bound to appoint rent control boards.

09 October 2018 | Infrastructure

The Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement has turned to the High Court to challenge the failure of industrialisation minister Tjekero Tweya to implement rent control boards.

AR leader Job Amupanda claims in his notice of motion that Tweya's refusal or failure to appoint rent control boards is unlawful.

He is asking the High Court to direct and order Tweya and the Namibian government to establish such boards in the Khomas, Erongo, Kavango East and Oshana regions.

In his founding statement, Amupanda says housing affordability is affecting the majority of the population, especially the youth.

He says house prices in Namibia are among the most expensive, which makes it virtually impossible for young people to afford homes, and they are thus necessitated to pay high rent.

President Hage Geingob engaged AR leaders in July 2015 on the urban housing crisis.

An agreement was reached between the government and AR at another meeting at State House in April 2016 that rent control boards would be established and optimally used as prescribed in Rents Ordinance 13 of 1977.

In accordance with this agreement, the industrialisation ministry was tasked to set up these boards and set tariffs for estate agents.

Amupanda says in his affidavit that rent regulation is a crucial measure while the government takes steps to provide serviced urban land or cheaper housing.

Notwithstanding, he claims that since August 2016 to January 2017, after the AR was asked to nominate people who could serve on the rent control boards, there has been silence from the ministry.

Amupanda says although Tweya stated in a letter in January 2017 government's “commitment to finding a lasting solution to the rental challenges”, the minister said in May this year that the Rents Ordinance would not be implemented.

Amupanda argues that this is at variance with undertakings made and agreements reached, as well as a gross violation of the applicable and binding law.

He argues that Tweya is “duty bound” to execute and administer the Rent Ordinance and has no discretion in the matter.

CATHERINE SASMAN

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