Law Reform for Improved Delivery of Land to the Urban Poor

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Ministry of Justice Law Reform and Development Commission


The current formal land tenure system in Namibia is unable to effectively deal with the huge backlog in formalization of informal settlements, most of which are in the rural areas of Namibia. The system is considered too slow and expensive for this purpose, and is also perceived as only benefiting the rich, while being inaccessible and too expensive for the poor. The proposed Flexible Land Tenure System (FLTS) aims to resolve this problem by implementing cheaper forms of land tenure, and bringing cadastral services closer to the poor. The system offers security of title, but the titles have significant limitations compared to freehold. It is questionable whether the FLTS will significantly accelerate the delivery of land to the poor, and whether it will indeed achieve the aims of a pro-poor land tenure system. It might in fact burden the poor with an inferior land tenure system, thereby becoming an obstacle rather than an instrument for poverty reduction and economic development. The formal land tenure system, on the other hand, is in urgent need of reform. The development of the new Urban and Regional Planning Bill, Deeds Registries Act, Flexible Land Tenure Regulations, and the current review of land survey related regulations, present an opportunity to address this issue. The development of these acts and regulations should be approached in a holistic manner aimed at improving land delivery and administration in general, with specific focus on the needs of the urban poor. The aim should be to make the system accessible and beneficial to all classes of society, thereby eliminating the need for a parallel system for the poor.



law reform, Flexible Land Tenure System (FLTS),urban planning, regional planning


Lewis, J., Zongwe, D.P. & Dausab, Y. (Eds.).(2017).Law Reform for Improved Delivery of Land to the Urban Poor:A Quarter Century of Social Carpentry.Ministry of Justice Law Reform and Development Commission: Republic of Namibia.