Agriculture Reform Act not intended to outlaw inheritance

19 Jun 2014 12:20pm
WINDHOEK, 19 JUN (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement has assured farmers and the legal fraternity that the amendment of its Agriculture Reform Act is not intended to outlaw the inheritance of deceased estates by their heirs or legatees.
Speaking in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Lands Minister Alpheus !Naruseb said they have observed through various engagements with stakeholders that the intentions of the amendment as it pertains to inheritance have been misunderstood.
He said the amendments are earmarked as checks and balances which guard against land transactions that are outside the confines of the said legal provisions, and actions which are not congruent with the motive, spirit and objective of the National Land Reform Programme.
“The proposed amendment aims to make provisions which would enable the State to exercise its preferential right to acquire agricultural land - where agricultural land is alienated in the administration of a deceased estate - or in accordance with a redistribution of assets in such estate between heirs and legatees,” he stated.
!Naruseb noted that before the Amendment Act, a number of farms under deceased estates were being auctioned on account of the fact that the heirs of such properties were not interested in pursuing farming, or for other reasons.
The purpose of the amendment is furthermore to curb instances where land is being sold to third parties without the State being offered the opportunity to exercise its preferential right as conferred by Section 17 of the Agricultural (Communal) Land Reform Act, 1995 [Act No.6 of 1995].
“The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, with the assistance of the Ministry of Justice, is crafting and will in due course prescribe by notice an additional exemption provision as provided for under Section 17(3)(f) of the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act, [Act No.6 of 1995] which would allow the redistribution of assets (agricultural land) in an estate between heirs and legatees, without first having to offer the land to the State, provided that the agricultural land in such an estate is not to be alienated to the third party, who is not a testate heir of such an estate,” !Naruseb said.