Lift Okahandja land sales moratorium

22 January 2019 | Columns

The Garden Town of Okahandja is well-known for hogging media headlines for all the wrong reasons. Service delivery protests at this town have reached an all-time high as councillors and community leaders continue to fight among each other. These never-ending squabbles have affected development at the town and this has been worsened by a government freeze on land sales. The land sales moratorium has been in place since 2015, while the urban and rural development ministry allegedly investigates irregular transactions. Interestingly, to this day, no action or detailed outcome of the government investigation has been made public while the ban on land sales remains in place.

In an interview with Namibian Sun last year, former urban and rural development minister Sophia Shaningwa explained that the moratorium remained in place and that her ministry had instituted a forensic audit in collaboration with the office of the auditor-general.

While a forensic audit may be necessary to detect and prevent fraudulent activities, it is unacceptable that government has allowed this issue to drag on for this long. Surely it can't take the authorities over three years to make up their mind and institute action against the guilty parties?

The land sales moratorium has stalled development at Okahandja and despite pleas by community members and the local authority to lift this ban; their demands have seemingly fallen on deaf ears. If government investigators suspect corruption they must take the necessary steps against the culprits and allow development to continue unhindered at the town.

And if government is really serious about tackling corruption, it would have already instituted similar sanctions in places like Windhoek where allegations of corruption in the allocation of land are well documented.

There is a real thirst of land throughout the country and delivering on electoral land promises should be the hallmark of this government and not to stifle development when it suits them.

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