Pohamba calls for expropriation of foreign-owned farms

01 Oct 2018 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 01 OCT (NAMPA) - Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba has called for the expropriation of commercial farms owned by foreigners and absentee landlords.
Speaking during the second National Land Conference here on Monday, Pohamba said the 250 farms owned by foreigners, representing two per cent of farms in the country, should be expropriated with fair compensation.
“I propose that agricultural (commercial) farm land owned by foreigners and absentee landlords be expropriated with just compensation on developmental capital invested therein and be transferred to the State,” he said.
Pohamba also proposed that “the entire Namibian land, water and natural resources below and above the surface of the land and in the continental shelf, as well as within the territorial waters and exclusive economic zone of Namibia” be placed under the ownership of the State.
“The State shall then enter into long- and short-term lease agreements with those currently occupying land in Namibia. The State shall, therefore, compensate for developmental capital invested on farm land, should the occupier decide to leave,” he said.
Pohamba further called for abolishment of the “willing buyer, willing seller” principle to enable Government to fast-track the land reform programme.
He said since the adoption of the principle, previously advantaged commercial farmers have been offering land to Government at inflated prices, adding that in most cases the land is not suitable for resettlement and land reform.
He further urged participants at the five-day conference, which started Monday, to deliberate fruitfully “in the spirit of national reconciliation guided by the motto ‘One Namibia, One Nation’ and to be mindful that thousands of Namibian people are in dire need of land to make a dignified living”.