Effectiveness of Flexible Land Tenure in Unplanned Urban Areas in the SADC Region: A Case Study of Tanzania and Experiences from Zambia and Namibia

Authors Kennedy Gastorn

ISSN: 2026-8556
Affiliations: Senior Lecturer, University of Dar es Salaam School of Law
Source: SADC Law Journal, The, 2013, p. 160 – 181


The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region is one of the fastest urbanising regions in which a majority of its urban and peri-urban dwellers are extra-legal, in that they do not have clear formal titles of land tenure to their land. Expansion of town boundaries occurs without an increase in basic and essential social services, such as the surveying and servicing of plots. Increasingly, states in the region are devising new forms of land tenure as alternatives to the existing tenures, collectively referred to as flexible land tenures, as a way of addressing land tenure insecurity within urban and peri-urban areas but also to economically empower the residents. This paper discusses the legal implications of flexible land tenures on land tenure security within the SADC region using Tanzania as a focal point. Specifically, it discusses the residential licences of Tanzania in the prism of occupancy licences of Zambia and starter and landhold titles of Namibia. It argues that these tenures are temporary and remedial in nature. As much as they have the potential to afford limited tenure security and contribute to economic growth, if not properly managed they might encourage more squatting and informal settlements. This contribution therefore provides a legal and policy framework upon which these licences are issued, the procedures, and the consequences that are attached to the licence holder. Also the relation between the licence and the future of unplanned settlements is discussed based on the overriding question whether such schemes are more for tenure security or urban planning. It is assumed that urbanisation is the major cause of the unplanned settlements.