Namibia will not follow 'Zim-style land grab' - Geingob

14 Apr 2014 16:00pm
SHANGHAI, 14 APR (NAMPA) - Namibia will never follow the Zimbabwe style of taking land from white people in the name of land reform, Prime Minister Hage Geingob has said.
Geingob said President Hifikepunye Pohamba has made it clear that land invasion or land grabbing, as the practice is often referred to, will not be permitted in an independent Namibia despite the current inequalities in the ownership of land.
The Premier made the remarks on Sunday when he addressed businesspeople from both China and Namibia during the second phase of the Namibia-China Business Forum in Shanghai. The first business forum took place last week in the Chinese capital of Beijing.
Classifying the land issue as critical in Namibia, Geingob said the Namibian Government has been avoiding a volatile situation in which the landless masses attempt to take land by force for their own use.
He, however, raised concern about the high number of non-Namibians, especially people of European and South African descents, who own large tracts of land in the country but do not live on it.
As such, the Prime Minister said the government has over the years enacted legislations that prohibit the sale of land to foreigners to avoid such scenarios.
“We have people in Namibia who own large farms and other pieces of land in the country, but who do not even live in Namibia. In the meantime, Namibians who are in need of arable land for farming are struggling to have access to such land. This is a very unfortunate situation to be in - one which cannot be allowed to continue,” he said.
Geingob advised Chinese businesspeople seeking land in Namibia to consider leasing such land, as they will not be able to purchase business land.
“A business person who intends to set up shop in Namibia can lease land for a maximum period of 99 years. So, do not despair. If you intend to set up factory shops in Namibia, you can do so provided you are doing so within the framework of the applicable laws. Land is a very sensitive issue in Namibia,” he noted.
Geingob, who has been on a nine-day state visit to China, is expected back in Namibia on Tuesday.