Namibia: Swapo to act on urban land shortage

Windhoek - The ruling Swapo party will act on the dire shortage of affordable urban land in the country and high housing prices, the party leadership announced on Monday.

"Steps have been taken to bring about speedier delivery of serviced urban land and address other issues surrounding high prices for the rental of accommodation and related matters," secretary general Nangolo Mbumba told reporters on Tuesday.

"The Swapo politburo meeting on Monday expressed concern over the impression being created that government has been reluctant to address issues related to the availability and provision of housing and serviced residential plots.

"Already last year the politburo established a special committee to investigate additional measures of dealing with the land issues, particularly urban land," Mbumba revealed.

National elections

He would not disclose details.

"The committee looked at existing laws and in due course its findings will be made known and necessary amendments to laws are to be tabled in the new parliament," he said.

Namibia held elections at the end of last year and a new parliament will be sworn in later this month.

Mbumba further announced that the Swapo politburo had suspended three cadres of the party's youth wing "for their actions just before the national elections last year".

They face hearings organised by Swapo's disciplinary committee.

Job Amupanda, Dimbulukweni Nauyoma and George Kambala were suspended at the end of last year by the 'Top Four', being the Swapo party president, his deputy, the secretary general and his deputy.

These persons are Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba, president elect Hage Geingob, Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba (an ordinary Member of Parliament) and Laura McLeod-Katjirua, currently governor of the Khomas region, one of Namibia's 14 political regions.

Mass campaign

However, media reported that the suspension of the three young members was against the party's constitution, which stipulates that the 'Top Four' may only recommend a suspension to the politburo, which then decides.

Mbumba on Tuesday said that the Swapo politburo had "confirmed the decision of the Top Four to suspend" the three young members.

They had illegally occupied an unserviced plot in the lush Kleine Kuppe suburb of the capital Windhoek last November, a few days before the elections, and voluntarily abandoned the action after two days.

Amupanda at that time was the information secretary of the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL). After his action, he resigned from the position.

A few days later, he was suspended from Swapo by the Top Four.

Last week on Friday Amupanda, Nauyoma and Kambala organised a mass campaign in which approximately 35 000 mainly young people participated and submitted written applications at municipal offices countrywide for a plot in order to build a house.