Government facing challenges in acquiring land for resettlement

16 Jul 2017 11:10am
GOBABIS, 16 JUL ( NAMPA) - Inadequate budgetary provision for acquisition and limited supply are some of the challenges encountered in restoring land to landless Namibians since the inception of the land reform programme in 1991.
Added to this is an uneven distribution of land offers, as most offers to Government are coming from the southern regions of Hardap and //Kharas.
This information was contained in a presentation on the state of land reform by the Ministry of Land Reform here on Friday, during a two-day regional consultative meeting on the matter.
The meeting was convened to gauge opinion and gather input from the public on land reform issues, ahead of the Second Land Conference in September this year.
According to the ministry, Government has been finding it hard to acquire land as owners register commercial land under companies and closed corporations to circumvent the law.
There is also a high demand for land under the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme run by Agribank in areas with the most suitable commercial land such as the Otjozondjupa Region, which leaves the National Resettlement Programme with marginal agricultural land.
The ministry's statement noted that Government has failed to fully address issues of farm land owned by foreigners and absentee landlords, mainly due to the slow pace of creating legislation to this effect.
Although the Agricultural Land Reform Act of 1995 and the Land Bill both address the issue of land acquisition by non-Namibians and the registration of land under companies, such laws are yet to be implemented.
As such, the amendment to existing legislation that deals with land ownership by foreign nationals, is still pending.
Government has also been hitting a brick wall continuously in some areas when it comes to the expropriation of farmland for resettlement purposes.
Although expropriation regulations were developed and gazetted in 2016 to deal with the issue of abandoned and underutilised commercial land, budgetary constraints have made it difficult to effectively implement such regulations.
Farm owners have also challenged Government for the use of the expropriation method to acquire their land, which hindered the effectiveness of this method.
Input gathered during the regional deliberations will be compiled into one document to be presented during the Land Conference from 18 - 22 September 2017.
Farmers, landless Namibians and other members of the public attended the deliberations.