Mr. Mahlomola noted that housing is the major sector contributing to job creation for the construction sector to respond to the rising demand for adequate and affordable housing and the right institutional factors.
He said to overcome the institutional barrier, the main institutional issue of weak governance and weak institutions that have resulted in the weak implementation of policies, regulations, and programmes, the government, therefore, faces the challenge of improving performance.
He said it is through coordination and regulations that the government will be able to reduce overlapping roles and functions among agencies, saying this will ensure an efficient flow of information to optimise the performance and survival of their institutions concerning service delivery.
He further said the coordinating team will also ensure that relevant information is transmitted to everybody at the right time, their institutional mandates with strategic focus and information sharing on their sectoral strategic plan.
The Principal Secretary said the ministry similarly holds coordination meetings with its land and housing institutions to leverage synergies for the smooth delivery of adequate housing for Basotho. These institutions include Lesotho Housing and Land Development Cooperation, Land Administrative Authority, Maseru City Council, and Lands Surveys and Physical Planning.
Moreover, he said to address one of the challenges identified in the National Housing Policy, uncoordinated efforts to land and housing weaken the performance of the housing industry, adding that they have decided to start home and review their way of doing things the way they deliver and eradicate a fragmented approach to service delivery.
He, therefore, stressed that there is a need to remove regulatory barriers through coordination as a strategy to support each other.
However, he said the ineffectiveness of the system is caused by the poor transmission of policy, poor design in structure and ineffective communication channels, adding that inadequate physical planning and poor implementation of plans also result in inappropriate land use, urban sprawl and building on areas prone to natural disasters.
Mr. Mahlomola stressed that Land Surveys and Physical Planning (LSPP) was established to provide orderly growth of towns and human settlements through effective management of land, development of land use and physical plan as well as the control of development while the Land Administration Authority (LAA) was established to provide effective land administration services to the people that is the security of tenure.
The Directorate of Housing was established to ensure equal access to safe, affordable, and adequate housing for all. The delivery of houses is carried out by the Lesotho Housing and Land Development Corporation (LHLDC) which was established to provide affordable housing to people in different income groups.
In conclusion, he said they will ultimately develop their coordination framework which aims to implement their policies and laws in a coordinated manner that will help them to avoid institutional constraints for coordination.
Policies can be better coordinated and aligned for achieving common purposes, improved land management and administration as well as increased supply of affordable and adequate housing.
On the same note, the acting Director of the Department of Housing, Ms. Mamphaka Mabesa said the meeting aims to create coordinated efforts in land and housing service delivery that will eradicate or minimise silos and fragmentations in the services.
Ms. Mabesa said they acknowledge that the land reform activity came with a bundle of benefits thus; most urban residents hold leases as a form of secure title to land rights, the LAA has and continues to improve the security of tenure as a component of adequate housing, adding that LHLDC continues to provide site and service schemes, MCC is focused on the upgrading of settlements while LSPP is focused on improving land use and physical planning.
She said the effective implementation of the guiding policies and laws including the National Housing Policy of 2018, the Land Act of 2010, and the Town and Country Planning Act of 1980 is critical.
“Lack of coordinated efforts has been identified as one hindrance toward effective implementation of the land and housing legal framework,” she said.
She added that there is a disconnection between central and district services and between policy and practices, stressing that it is high time that they come together to address the challenges in the human settlements space and grow Lesotho together as the land and housing institutions.
Ms. Mabesa said as change-makers they should be happy that this meeting came at the right time to address the ad hoc coordination of functions in the ministry, saying it is time to join efforts towards achieving the ministry’s plan to provide an enabling built environment and contribute to the achievement of the goals of the NSDP II strategic focus of 2023/24 – 2027/28.
She said the goal is to improve human settlements space, need to improve the capacity of the institutions to deliver on their mandates and a plan to make their services available and known by the public.
She said there is an untapped potential for the housing construction industry of which job creation is the top priority of NSDP II, stressing that they have gathered to strategise on how they can improve the built environment, increase it, and make it inclusive and sustainable still leaving no one behind.
In conclusion, she said the goal was to ultimately have a declaration confirming their commitment to serve and deliver on the land and housing goals and achieve the objectives of the NSDP II strategic focus. The declaration will be finalised and published at the 2nd seating of the ‘Connected Land and Housing Institutions’.
Also speaking, acting Commissioner of Land, Mrs. Masebele Mpoi said Lesotho will have a land policy which will govern how a country’s administration will be governed, managed and administer land in the country.
Mrs. Mpoi said her department functions through four divisions, namely: Physical Planning, Land Use Planning, Surveying, Mapping and Land Tenure. She noted that they initiated the drafting of the Sectional Titles Bill, Property Valuers, Profession Bill and Estate Agency Affairs Bill.
She said the coordination team meetings will reduce overlapping roles and functions among land agencies and promote efficient service delivery.
Present at the meeting included, Land Surveys and Physical Planning, Lesotho Housing and Land Development Corporation, Land Administration Authority and Maseru City Council.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Lesotho.