Land moratorium stalls Okahandja rejuvenation
Okahandja Chief Executive Officer, Martha Mutilifa, says that investors are ready to pump millions into the ‘Garden Town’, but the moratorium on land sales and leases, which has been in place since August last year, continues to stall efforts to spark a development boom.
“When I came in October last year, I found the moratorium in effect. This moratorium was put in place to address the issues of wrong dealings on land sales and leases.
“Since then, we did not sell any plot under my management, as the ministry (Ministry of Urban and Rural Development ) was carrying out investigations that are about to be concluded,” Mutilifa told the Windhoek Observer during a wide-ranging interview this week. (See the full text on pages 5 and 6)
Mutilifa said her council had come up with several initiatives to attract more investment to the town, but they were “just waiting for the moratorium on the land to be lifted”.
“As soon as that is done, we wish to give everyone permission and the authority to build, construct and develop on their properties as per the town planning scheme.
“There are so many applications on my table, including for township establishments, as well as industrial development proposals, but we cannot do much with the moratorium in effect.
“We hope that by the end of this month or next month the moratorium will be lifted on sale and lease of land.”
Mutilifa added that investors had applied to put up hospitals, pharmacies, medical centres, factories, production centres, fruit and vegetable production plantations in the town, but these projects cannot go ahead with the moratorium still in place.
Urban and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa told the Windhoek Observer Thursday that the probe into the land sales by the previous Okahandja council was “90 percent complete”.
Shaningwa said that she had sent investigators back to the municipality, as there are still some outstanding matters.
“The investigation is not fully completed yet. It is 90 percent done; we are almost there, and once that is done, then I will make an announcement publicly,” Shaningwa said.
“I sent my people back. We have discovered that there are things that are still outstanding. That is why I sent them back, so we can tackle these pending matters, because what I got is not exactly what I want,” the minister added.
When the probe started, the ministry wanted copies of application letters, deeds of sale, all receipts, as proof of payment, and council resolutions that paved the way to grant applicants land.