Lands Tribunal hearings put on hold till next month

10 Jul 2018 16:10pm
WINDHOEK, 10 JUL (NAMPA) – The hearings of the alleged controversial land allocation processes at resettlement farms and other related disputes in the communal areas, were on Tuesday put on hold until next month.
The hearings scheduled to kick off before the Lands Tribunal in the High Court were postponed to 16 August 2018 in order to allow lawyers representing the disputing parties to properly prepare the defence papers on behalf of their clients.
This include the alleged controversial land allocation process in respect of the N.dollars 40 million Osema and Gusinde resettlement farms in the Ovitoto communal area in the Otjozondjupa Region, which was allegedly done without criteria for resettling people on game farms.
It is alleged that the Ministry of Land Reform approved and signed the resettlement process criteria in November 2016 after the deadline for an advert that called for the expression of interest on the game farms.
It is further alleged that some unnamed officials at the Land Ministry admitted in an email to one of the aggrieved parties, Chobezi Game Farming and Safaris, that the resettlement process criteria were not used to determine the successful applicants.
In addition, the members of the Ovitoto Conservancy also expressed shock at the time when they learnt that the farms in question had been awarded to a company called Ovitoto Game and Hunting Safaris, stressing that the conservancy had been lobbying to get farms in the surrounding areas for years without success.
With a total size of 9 128 hectares, Gusinde Number 197 and Osema Number 63 have up to 800 wildlife of different species worth more than N.dollars 3 million and are adjacent to the Ovitoto Conservancy.
Other cases before the Lands Tribunal were those brought against the Ministry of Land Reform by applicants Sharon Lizette van Wyk and Niklaas Steenkamp.
The tribunal deals with disputes over unfair land allocation processes in the communal areas and advises the Land Ministry regarding the prices of land it wants to buy in commercial farms.
The Lands Tribunal members are Advocate Elize Angula, lawyers Clive Kavendjii, Rhyno van der Walt and Orben Sibeya as well as former Member of Parliament Clara Bohitile.
They serve for a period of three years.