Mariental offers low-cost residential plots

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

IN a bid to reduce the number of informal homesteads at the town, Mariental Municipality plans to sell residential plots to 12 individuals at a cost of less than N$6 000 each. The municipality says the plots would be sold to new prospective owners if there are no objections by 23 April.

Most of the plots are situated in Aimablaagte, where the most expensive one costs N$5 200. The rest would be sold for between N$3 600 and N$2 600. Five of the 17 plots are located in Empelheim Extension 3 and their prices range between N$1 396 and N$5 200.

According to the town’s chief executive officer, Paul Nghiwilepo, the beneficiaries have been living on these plots of land for a long time. “Aimablaagte was an informal settlement then we developed [it], we [plan to] give everyone who lived there a title deed after we have serviced the land.

“We have now connected them to water and the electricity grid. We have also built roads and sewerage reticulation there. We give them the land at an affordable price. “In 2018 and 2019 we allocated forty plots to residents in the same suburbs,” he said, adding that the plots were serviced with subsidy from the government.

He said the municipality has also allocated two erven to a purported property developer, Sinco, for a combined N$50 000 to build two sample houses using special building materials.

Although Nghiwilepo could not specify exactly how many people live in informal housing at the town, he said about 280 people live in Aimablaagte.

In recent years, the price of urban residential land in Namibia skyrocketed to way beyond the means of most working class households, as many people simply could not afford them and were forced to rent or move into shacks on the outskirts of the urban areas.

In towns like Windhoek, a residential plot in an informal settlement can fetch over N$100 000. Last August, Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba said Namibia’s housing backlog currently stands at 110 000 and grows at an annual rate of 3 700.

“Urban land and housing shortage is a reality today in most major cities and towns throughout Namibia. This multifaceted problem is characterised by various aspects, such as the lack of serviced land in urban townships, limited financial resources and excess housing demand,” he said at the time.