Government has failed to address land issue: Van Wyk

02 Oct 2018 19:20pm
REHOBOTH, 02 OCT (NAMPA) – The United People’s Movement (UPM) on Tuesday said the second National Land Conference excluded indigenous and minority groups and has failed the masses with regard to land distribution.
UPM Vice President Jan van Wyk in a media statement said the conference is also a result of the claims of landless Namibians, and that their representatives were not consulted on the drafting of the Land Bill.
The Land Bill includes provisions that would benefit all Namibians in terms of land purchases and development funding. It also has a clause that would extend the powers of the Land Tribunal to deal with all disputes regarding land.
Land Reform Minister Utoni Nujoma tabled the Bill in Parliament in November 2016.
UPM is part of the opposition parties, traditional authorities and social pressure groups that boycotted the land conference.
Van Wyk said pressure from opposition parties, including the UPM and other groups resulted in the withdrawal of the Land Bill last year.
“Our claim was no Land Bill before the second National Land Conference. The withdrawal of the Bill last year was already a victory for the landless people of Namibia and it is therefore wrong for President Hage Geingob to claim the conference is a result of his policy of inclusiveness and consultations,” he said.
He said UPM gladly takes note that the Namibian Government “has admitted that it has failed the nation through its skewed resettlement programmes”.
“The president is also wrong in claiming that land redistribution has failed due to the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ programme and that the prices of commercial land by white commercial farmers were inflated to such an extent that Government could not afford to acquire such land for resettlement,” Van Wyk noted.
He said statistics in this regard are available and that Government allegedly sabotaged the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ principle through poor planning, under-budgeting, nepotism, favouritism and corruption.
“The president claims to be a custodian of inclusivity, however, he allowed the exclusion of the representatives of landless people from the start. This exclusion started with the so-called regional consultative meetings,” he charged.
Van Wyk further said UPM is convinced that the land conference was already derailed at that stage as Government “turned a blind eye to the claims of the real land owners”.
He added that the regional meetings were “loaded with Swapo cadres to ensure that the Swapo manifesto is guaranteed and not to listen to the will of the people”.
“The UPM was banned from sending delegates to most of the regions, for example the Otjozondjupa Region, as it only could attend to Khomas, Hardap and Erongo region meetings.”
Van Wyk said Geingob promised in several speeches that landless people would get land, “however, not a single local authority led by the Swapo Party has succeeded in these promises”.
He further said affordable housing will remain a dream as the Swapo-led Government could not prove that it has delivered to the satisfaction of the landless masses.