IN a plight to control the sprawling of informal settlements and to provide the over 998,000 people living in such settlements throughout the country a chance to own land legally, the Ministry of Land Reform has kick-started pilot projects which will see the formalisation of four informal settlements countrywide.
The move, under government’s Flexible Land Tenure Act of 2012, will see the introduction of a formal tenure registration system, which will provide affordable land that will cost approximately N$150 per transfer of title deed, and with cheaper conveyancing costs provided to Local Authorities.
In this regard, the Ministry of Land hosted a consultative meeting with banks on the Flexible Land Tenure Project, and how these title deeds transferred to low income earners can be used as a form of collateral in aid of development.
Peter Amutenya, the Executive Director within the ministry, stated that the pilot projects will include four informal settlements across the country, namely, Windhoek’s Onyika informal settlement and Freedom Land B informal settlement, as well as Oshakati’s Onawa Informal Settlement and the Freedom Square Informal in Gobabis.
Amutenya stated that the piloting will be completed within a year and that good lessons will be drawn, which will enable a successful rolling out of the project to all local authorities.
He stated that the Second National Land Conference concluded that shack dwellers should be accorded land titles and that land delivery processes for the lower income community be scaled up.
“Therefore it is imperative that we consult all relevant stakeholders, and make them aware that the titles under the Flexible Land Tenure Act, 2012, are legitimate, protected by law, transferable, inheritable and they can be used as a security for financing purposes,” Amutenya stated.
Under the new formal tenure registration system, people who live in informal settlements will have a Starter Title and Land Hold title and then eventually upgrade to a Freehold title.
Also speaking at the meeting, Director of Land Reform and Resettlement, Petrus Nangolo, stated that this project can only work with the consent of local authorities, which will allocate land in blocks to persons living in informal settlements.
Asked whether this project will eventually lead to the provision of water, electricity, as well as other utility services, Nangolo stated that before anything can be developed, consent has to be given by local authorities, or municipalities in each town for the land to be divided into blocks.
“If the local authorities agree for the establishment of the scheme, of course gradually these settlements will be upgraded, “ Nangolo stated.