Politicians Compound Housing Crisis – Swartbooi (allAfrica.com)

Outgoing //Kharas Governor Bernadus Swartbooi has lashed out at politicians who exploit others by buying huge pieces of land on which they build flats.
He said some politicians build houses that they lease to homeless Namibians and they do this in the name of business, thereby exacerbating the current housing crisis.
Swartbooi who is headed to parliament was speaking at his farewell party held on Friday afternoon in Keetmanshoop.
He said some politicians have disgracefully used the loopholes in the system to get access to huge tracts of land through which they exploit fellow Namibians by renting out houses and flats which they build on the property.
“Some politicians have shamefully taken part in the economic space provided by an unjust system, with their business partners,” said Swartbooi.
He said some politicians have fenced off land and joined the exploitation of those that don’t have houses.
“They can call it business but I don’t care,” he lashed out at politicians who have condemned fellow Namibians to perpetually being tenants.
The MP-elect emphasised that the development of flats in areas like Windhoek requires a moratorium. “We don’t need flats, we have sufficient land to build decent houses,” he said.
Swartbooi expressed his sympathy for young people hoping to get a foothold into the property market, noting that there are young doctors, engineers and teachers who can access loans of up to N$1 million but they are unable to find land to build their dream homes.
“Land banking has become a huge problem,” he said, adding that only a small percentage of people can afford land, meaning they buy it up and sell it for millions of dollars at a later stage.
He promised to take it upon himself to put laws in place that prohibit people in urban areas from owning more than one residential plot and more than one commercial plot.
Swartbooi said the current land system needs to be reviewed as it plays a big role in escalating house prices.
He said people pay tax and the money is used to service land and with the people’s tax the value of the serviced land goes up and when they want to purchase land they have to pay the local authorities again for the service done to the land, which they already paid for through tax.
“You are therefore paying double, triple, quadruple for what you initially paid for to make improvements,” he said.
He noted that other countries have put up measures to improve land acquisition, such as Mozambique where all state land is available free of charge to everyone, according to him.
Swartbooi then proposed a simple solution to resolve the land problem. “Do I think we can resolve it (the residential land issue)? Easy, change the law, get the right ministers to deal with these issues,” he urged.
He said that too often some ministers do not have a clue about what’s going on at grassroots level.
Source: Business