Willing-buyer willing-seller policy has not failed: PM

27 Sep 2018 07:20am
By Edward Mumbuu Jnr.
WINDHOEK, 27 SEP (NAMPA) – The willing-buyer willing-seller land redistribution policy has not failed, but overpricing has made it nearly impossible for the State to acquire land for redistribution purposes, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has said.
The premier made these comments in an interview with Nampa on Tuesday that covered a host of issues on land ahead of the second National Land Conference.
“I think what has been a challenge is the pricing that has escalated so much that it has become unaffordable for Government to buy it in quantities that would enable it to redistribute land in a manner that would transform ownership in the country,” she said.
Another issue of concern ahead of the conference is the perceived lacklustre approach of white commercial farmers to come to the negotiating table to address Namibia’s land dilemma.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila acknowledged the importance of white farmers, who own the majority of commercial farms in Namibia.
“It is important that these compatriots are brought to the table and that we continue to engage them so they have a greater appreciation of the problem we face,” she noted.
The prime minister then emphasised the importance of peace and stability, adding that the productivity of land can be improved without eroding the benefits of those who own it at present.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila added that land redistribution should not raise any uncertainties amongst investors.
“Whatever adjustments we make to our laws, we do not intend to create undue apprehension amongst investors,” the former finance minister assured, adding that Government intends to manage Namibia’s resources to ensure that everyone has “a piece of the cake to survive on”.
The conference, slated for 01 to 05 October 2018, seeks to address the structure of land ownership in Namibia and debate topical issues pertaining to land.
The willing-buyer willing-seller principle, ancestral land claims for restitution and the expropriation of agricultural land in the public interest feature on its agenda.
Urban land reform, the resettlement criteria and the removal of the Veterinary Cordon Fence will also be debated at the conference.