Swartbooi delighted to serve as Deputy Minister

23 Mar 2015 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 23 MAR (NAMPA) – Former Governor of the //Karas Region, Bernadus Swartbooi, says he is delighted for the opportunity to serve as Deputy Minister of Land Reform.
Swartbooi recently told Nampa in an interview that he finds it is an important assignment that should be carried out with the necessary care and skill, to ensure that access to land is made easier for those that need land to be productive and improve lives.
“One of the priorities that one has to look at is to deal with the question of communal land and to ensure that we are able to improve the infrastructural conditions in communal land.,” he said.
According to Swartbooi, so many of the fences have over the years dilapidated, as such farmers there are unable to farm decently on communal land.
He noted that the second issue he would address as deputy minister would be to look at the extent to which the government is supporting affirmative action farmers.
“Just last week I was approached by a couple of farmers from the Otjozondjupa Region who informed me about the extent to which they are suffering in retaining those farms, because many of their colleagues who have purchased affirmative action farms have actually fallen out of the scheme and are back to the communal reserves,” he explained.
Swartbooi said he does not want Namibian people to have the opportunity to access land through the affirmative action loan schemes only for them to fall out of that scheme and return to an area where they came from.
“We want continuity, we want to make sure that money spend by the state generating the kinds of success in the life of people,” he said.
In terms of resettlement, he highlighted that a great focus will also have to be laid with a good balance of young and emerging farmers.
“These young and emerging farmers who demonstrate an ability to farm well either on municipal lands that they are leasing or on communal lands, have to be identified to be beneficiaries of resettlement farms,' he said.
Swartbooi said he has seen in many regions that those above the age of 55 have been given resettlement farms and have not done as good as he thought they would do in managing the land and bringing about the necessary infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Swartbooi declined a rumour that was circulating recently that he had shot down the appointment by President Hage Geingob as Deputy Minister.
“These were unfortunate rumours that were generated by people that have a particular political agenda,” he said.