Swapo elders’ council proposes land reforms

22 Sep 2018 23:30pm
WINDHOEK, 22 SEP 2018 (NAMPA) - The Swapo Party Elders’ Council (SPEC) on Friday proposed several land reform initiatives covering urban and agrarian land in a bid to address disparities ahead of the second national land conference slated for 01 to 05 October 2018.

Speaking at media briefing, SPEC secretary, Mukwaita Shanyengana described land as a fundamental property, which belongs to all human beings and all living things.

To this effect, the council proposed various radical and moderate options on land reform, including the nationalisation of land and all means of production and nominal public ownership of land, among others.

Nominal public ownership of land means that all land will be owned by the state on behalf of the people and abolishes freeholds, the SPEC said.

The elders’ council further hinted to the expropriation of land 'with or without compensation.”

SPEC said payment should only be applicable on improvements such as infrastructure on the farm, and not the land.

“We can’t pay for the land. Land already belongs to the state. We should only pay for the building and improvements such boreholes made on the farm [movable, and immovable assets],” Shanyengana said.

Furthermore, the SPEC had several suggestions on commercial and urban land, raising concern that land prices have been inflated to an extent that government finds it hard to purchase farms for its resettlement programmes.

This, according to SPEC, can be addressed through controlling land prices.

The secretary added that the land reforms should improve material conditions of poor and landless people as well as agricultural labourers in order to produce their food as well as for the workers to improve their living conditions.

As a result, upcoming farmers should be assisted to produce, putting emphasis on productivity to go up and contribute to the national gross domestic product.

“Agrarian reform and rural development at national and local level should reflect political consciousness and political power,” Shanyengana emphasised.

Explaining agrarian reform, Shanyengana said this reform’s objective is to ensure minimum wages for agricultural workers to improve terms of agricultural credit.

On urban land, SPEC proposed that municipalities should service the municipal land and allocate it to the residents free of costs or at a subsidized rate.