Rent Control Board on the cards – OPM
The Office of the Prime Minister earlier this week announced that the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development has commenced the process to set up the proposed Rent Control Board. This comes after a statement by the AR movement to approach the judiciary to compel the government to abide by its own laws.
Speaking to the Economist, the public relations officer at the Prime Ministers Office, said that they have not formulated an authoritative response to the AR movement’s stated intention of taking legal action against the state over its delay to establish the Rent Control Board for which a 01 August deadline was set.
The PR officer, Saimi Shaanika explained that she is not at liberty to discuss the board, however explained that the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development as the designated ministry for administering the Rent Ordinance, will appoint and exercise oversight over the Rent Control Board. “The actual implementation of the regulation of rent by the Rent Control Board will be undertaken by the Board after due consultation with relevant stakeholders.” she detailed.
The AR movement recently came out strongly against the government’s missing the deadline for the establishment of a rent control board. “We are also exploring, in our application to court, holding government liable for financial losses tenants have incurred due to its negligence in implementing the provisions of the law.” the AR movement stated. The movement claimed it has gone to great lengths to demonstrate to politicians that what is required to address the current housing crisis can be done within the framework of existing laws as provided by both the Rent Ordinance 13/1977 and section 33 of the Estate Agents Act 11/1976. “Stated differently, the law is already in place to address the challenges faced by the masses of our people.”
Shaanika said that the special Cabinet Committee on Land and Related Matters (SCCLRM) looked at the existing statutes and resolved that the provision of the Rent Ordinance of 1977 be invoked to establish a Rent Control Board to regulate rentals of residential property. “In that regard, the Minister of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development was designated by H.E the President, in terms of section 3 of the Assignment of Powers Act of 1990, to administer the Rent Ordinance. The ministry has also been empowered to appoint the Rent Control Board, among other tasks required to be carried out in this regard.” she explained.
The AR movement stated that their letter to the Prime Minister was responded to by an assistant saying nothing. “It is clear that it has become difficult to trust government commitments and agreements they make whether publicly or otherwise,” AR stressed.
“There are other serious and radical steps to be taken should we not succeed in court given that the rule of law would have failed the landless and renting masses of our people. We will fight on for our generation; even if we lose the battles we will still pick ourselves up until we liberate ourselves from the tyranny of capitalism.” the movement added.
The movement further accused the Estate Agents Board of corruption and nepotism saying “ politicians have kept Anne Gebhardt and Annelie Aerla on the Namibia Estate Agents Board for 13 years and 19 years respectively. These are bodyguards of the interest of politicians and capitalists.
This board illegally, as reported, took N$2.5 million from the fund meant to protect the public and channelled the funds towards self-benefit. No criminal charges were laid” the AR movement claims in its statement.