By Josephine Tembo,
The acquisition of a Title Deed is usually simple and straightforward, however, at times it can
also involve a very complex and specialised process, which understandably is not always very
clear to the average person. Nevertheless, a Title Deed is a very important legal document,
which is used as evidence to prove ownership of immovable property, such as a home or a plot
So how does one get to obtain a Title in Zambia?
The government authority responsible for Title Deeds in Zambia is the Ministry of Lands and
Natural Resources. First thing you will need to do is get advice directly from the Ministry of
Lands and Natural Resources regarding your particular case if you intend on getting Title. Costs,
procedures and requirements will vary from time to time but typically do not change that
Harriet Chilufya a registry clerk at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources explained the
sporadic titling system, “there are 8 main steps involved in the sporadic titling system in order
for one to obtain a title deed. It begins with the prospective landowner lodging an application
for land with the Town Clerk or Council Secretary. Then the committee of the Council that deals
with land matters interviews applicants and selects suitable candidates. Thereafter, names of
approved candidates by the committee are presented to the full council or ordinary council
meeting for adoption.
The council secretary writes a recommendation letter to the Commissioner of Lands and
encloses minutes of both the land committee and the ordinary council meetings together with
the annexure a land application form for stands. The application is then processed through
hierarchical internal submissions to the commissioner of lands who approves or rejects the
application. Upon approval, an invitation to treat is issued to the applicant, which outlines the
fees to be paid. Once payment of prescribed fees outlined in the invitation to treat are made,
the applicant is issued with a letter of offer. The landowner is then required to submit survey
diagrams or sketch plans to the commissioner’s office so that a lease can be prepared and
eventually Certificate of Title issued,” Ms Chilufya explained.
She described the sporadic titling system to be a tedious and costly process to the property
owner, as the prospective has to spend more money during the process of acquiring a title
compared to the systematic titling process.
The government recognises that a greater proportion of land is not titled, and with the
increased land demand in the urban and peri-urban areas. It was felt that something had to be
done to address the insecure land tenure holding of most of the population, hence the
introduction of the National Land Titling Program. The National Land Titling Programme (NLTP) began in 2014 with the idea of placing all land in Zambia on title at a reduced cost for its citizens. At the time of conception, there were only
about 142,000 Certificates of Title for a country with a land area of 752,614 km 2 . Almost 80% of
the land is not registered and bringing all this land under title is a massive undertaking.
The programme objectives are to guarantee security of tenure, reduce displacements, promote
internal security and increase the revenue base and investment in the Country thereby
contributing to socio-economic development.
To achieve these objectives, the government of Zambia piloted the implementation of National Land Titling in two areas of Lusaka i.e. Madido, which is an illegal settlement, and Kamwala South, which was planned by the Lusaka City Council.
Glen Mwika a land surveyor consultant at Medici Land Governance explained how Systematic
Land Titling is the fast track and cheap way to acquiring a Title Deed.
“Systematic titling is a process of acquiring a land title deed by which their is a mass production
of titles in the demarcated area. The systematic titling process is a cheaper and faster way to
acquire a land title by the property owner”, he said.
For this process all you have to do is make the ownership documents available in readiness for
enumeration by Medici Land Governance enumerates who go door-to-door to collect the
property owners personal information for identification. Land owners have to ensure that they
produce the original copy of their National Registration Card and any of the following
documents; Invitation to Treat, Offer letter, Land Record card, Utility bill, Occupancy License,
Council Rate Bill or a Deed of Gift. The landowners must also ensure that they are physically
available at their property in order to show the property boundaries to the enumerated by
walking around the property, which cuts off costs of surveys in the sporadic process.
After enumeration is done for the demarcated areas, its then followed by community
verification of which landowners have to verify the details that were captured during
enumeration. An offer letter is then issued to the landowners, of which all this process is done
for free unlike the sporadic process.
The introduction of the Systematic Land Titling process can be said that it is a fast track and
cheaper way of acquiring a land Title Deed compared to the Sporadic Land Titling process.