THE grabbing of council land at Katima Mulilo has increased due to the influx of people from rural areas to the town in search of employment opportunities, town mayor Regina Mwiya-Simataa said in a press release last Friday.
Although Mwiya-Simataa conceded that the council had been slow in delivering land to the needy, she appealed to them to refrain from grabbing land as this is illegal.
“I strongly discourage those community members involved in land grabbing to refrain from such activities and follow the correct procedures of acquiring land, or else the council will be forced to take action against those participating in such illegal action,” she stated.
The mayor said from 2014 to 2016, the council provided a total of 1 226 plots to the people, but the land grabbing is just not going away because more people are coming from the rural areas to the town in search of jobs.
Mwiya-Simataa also appealed to the land board to speed up the approval process to avoid such problems, and also not to scare away potential investors who need land to start building on their business premises.
“The delay in the present system scares potential investors because it takes too long for land allocations to be approved and for the investors to start building. I appeal to the government and responsible institutions to amend some of these regulations, or to give powers to the local authorities who are custodians of the town land to speed up the process,” she added.
Bernard Sibalatani, the councillor of the Katima Mulilo Urban constituency, told The Namibian that they have observed the land grabbing issue.
“This land grabbing is becoming a problem in our community. People should adhere to the rules and follow the right procedures to acquire land,” he noted.
Sibalatani said they do not want to involve the police in the issue, but if the problem persists, they might be forced to do so.
“It is a crime and it is punishable by law, but we are just trying to avoid that.
We had meetings in all the suburbs to tell people to refrain from illegal land occupations, and we hope they will stop immediately,” he said.