Government postpones tabling of Land Bill

08 Feb 2017 19:50pm
WINDHOEK, 08 FEB (NAMPA) – The Namibian Government has called off the re-tabling of the Land Bill for now.
President Hage Geingob made the announcement during the opening of the 2017 legal year on Wednesday, saying Government has decided to postpone the re-tabling of the Bill to organise a national dialogue at which the land issue will be thoroughly interrogated.
This announcement follows an outcry from the public for the Ministry of Land Reform to consult the nation and not re-table the Land Bill before the Second National Land Conference scheduled for September.
Minister of Land Reform, Utoni Nujoma tabled the Bill in Parliament in November last year, but it was withdrawn to give enough time for parliamentarians to study the document.
At a media briefing on Wednesday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land Reform, Peter Amutenya dismissed allegations that the public and other stakeholders were not consulted on the drafting of the Land Bill.
Amutenya said the preparation and formulation of the Land Bill started in 2006, which was followed by consultation in all regions.
“The Land Bill and the land conference are two different things,” he said, stressing that the Land Bill has no connection to the land conference and each must be treated differently.
Amutenya said the proposed law will consolidate the Agriculture Commercial Land Reform Act of 1995, and the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002.
He explained that the land conference will fast-track progress made in the implementation of Resolution of 1991 and look into the way forward regarding the land issue in the country.
The Resolution results from the First National Land Conference that year, where parties agreed that foreigners should not be allowed to own farmland in Namibia but should be allowed to develop it on a leasehold basis for investment.