…Accuses government of not releasing funds
The Affirmative Repositioning movement will not be part of the Massive Urban Land Servicing Program (MULSP), citing lack of urgency to meet targets and deliberate moves by the Namibian government to see the programme fail.
Making the announcement at a media conference yesterday, AR activist Job Amupanda said failure to meet the program targets shows the lack of urgency by government to address the housing crisis in the country.
“Not only is there failure to meet the targets and observe the urgency of the housing crisis, there is evidently no consequences for those who deliberately fail the MULSP,” read the statement.
According to AR, its members dedicated their time, energy and resources to attend meetings of the MULSP but to this day, there are no tangible results that have come out of their efforts.
“Our engineers, town planners, quantity surveyors, cartographers, environment specialists and several professionals from various backgrounds sat in those meetings making their skills available to their country at no cost.”
“Even the MULSP targets that are contained in the Harambee document, such as the MULSP Implementation Plan and Pre-Allocation, are missed and no single explanation is offered,” added the group.
As a result, AR made it officially known that it will no longer supper the MULSP alleging that the programme was created to “contain” them.
“It is now clear that these MULSP meetings are nothing but an attempt to contain AR in the slacking government bureaucracy, given these developments, we will be issuing government with a notice of withdrawal from the MULSP,” the statement further read.
Despite going into bed with government, AR remained unimpressed with the progress made with regard to the provision of affordable and quality housing as thousands “still live in informal” settlements.
Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) last year indicated that that more than 500 000 Namibians live in informal settlements all over the country.
“It has now been more than 5 years since these figures were released, it is clear that the number of the masses of our people living in such conditions has surpassed the 500 000 figure. In fact, in Windhoek for example, we are made aware that informal settlements are growing at more than 9 percent,” noted the Amupanda.
Amupanda says it disappointing to note that despite the ever growing number of Namibians in informal settlements, there is “no intervention on the part of government and local authorities to decisively assist our people in informal settlements who are still without basic services”.
Many Namibians have lived in “shacks” since independence and claims that the movement is the only hope that the masses have to one day “owning” decent houses.
“As the only hope of the landless affected by the housing question, we will be moving into the informal settlements to dignify our people. We will be realigning existing shacks and replacing them with dignified housing with alternative building materials at no cost to our people,” he said.
In addition, Amupanda said the movement plans to put up street signs and names to make it easier for the families and friends to access each other according to the statement.
“We have already spoken to several families who cannot wait to be given their dignified dwellings,” the.
To realise this, he said AR will mobilise resources both locally and internationally for this purpose.
Other AR initiative include the AR Foundation and the Special Initiatives. As part of the AR special initiative, the movement launched a historiography dubbed ‘AR: Awakening A Generation’.
“The container eventually arrived in Namibia, from London, in December 2016, full of tables, desks, clothes, stationaries, medical equipment and several goods for our people. We will be establishing the AR Foundation that will deal with these charity efforts.”
AR threatened to take legal action against Government for not showing progress on the implementation of rent control in Namibia.
Amupanda expressed disappointment with Government for taking long to address the issue of high rental rates in the county.
AR and government ministers held a meeting in April 2016, when they agreed for Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila to summon the Estate Agents Board to review and address escalating property prices before 01 August 2016.
Both parties agreed to speed up the implementation of rent control boards, as set out in the Rent Ordinance 13/1977. Amongst other duties, the board will regulate rental rates and resolve any disagreements arising from rentals.
“The government kept zig-zagging from 2015 to date. It keeps giving lip service to the matter instead of decisively implementing the provisions available in their rent ordinance,” said Amupanda.
He said the AR on Thursday wrote a letter to the Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME
Development, Immanuel Ngatjizeko to express their displeasure and notify him that if they do not see progress on the rent control board by 19 February 2017, they will conclude that Government is unwilling to implement the legislation, given the benefits elites accrue from the exploitation.
“We will then approach the independent judiciary to direct the ruling elite that ours is a republic founded on the basis of the rule of law, not the rule of men and justice for all,” Amupanda said.
He noted that it is injustice for poor people to rent at excessive prices from rich landlords who are politicians and businesspeople.
Amupanda said they were requested to submit names of people to be considered for members of rent control boards but till now, nothing has happened.
The names given are Dimbulukweni Nauyoma from Windhoek, Knowledge Ipinge from Swakopmund, and Christiaan Sindendere from Rundu.
Efforts to obtain comment from the ministry proved futile as several calls to the minister’s office went unanswered.
Additional reporting by Nampa