Land conference ‘a spectacular waste of N.dollars 15 million’: Swartbooi

23 Oct 2018 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 23 OCT (NAMPA) – The second National Land Conference was “a spectacular waste of N.dollars 15 million where people convened to enjoy coffee, tea and biscuits while the status quo remains intact”, Landless People’s Movement leader Bernadus Swartbooi said.
The status quo, in Swartbooi’s eyes, is that the majority of Namibians will remain landless and that laws that could emanate from the conference’s resolutions will be skewed in favour of foreign or white land ownership.
He was speaking at a media conference in the capital on Tuesday, where he provided LPM’s position on the outcome of the land conference, which took place in Windhoek at the beginning of October.
“What is clear from our standpoint is that the land conference was a spectacular waste of N.dollars 15 million,” said Swartbooi.
LPM and several other opposition parties, movements and traditional authorities boycotted the event.
The conference was held under the theme ‘Towards a comprehensive and sustainable land reform in Namibia’, but the LPM leader said it should instead be renamed the “incomprehensive and unsustainable land deform conference”.
Swartbooi also criticised Government for adopting a resolution that will scrap the willing buyer, willing seller policy without providing an alternative policy.
Doing away with the policy, according to Swartbooi, means the entire Land Reform Ministry - whose mandate is to purchase land for resettlement purposes - should be shut down, with the exception of the Office of the Deeds Registrar.
“The ministry is essentially a purchasing agency of the State. Once you have suspended the willing buyer, willing seller principle, why keep in employment people who will not be buying land?” he asked.
He also called on Namibian churches to speak on bread and butter issues that Namibians are confronted with daily.
“If they are the churches that we know, they must be instruments of truth and justice. And truth and justice do not wait for convenient times. The church cannot tell us they cannot see anything wrong in this country,” he stated.
The land conference adopted 169 resolutions which are due for submission to Cabinet for further interrogation before approval, after which they will then be taken to Parliament.