04 Jun 2019 15:10pm
By Edward Mumbuu Jr
WINDHOEK, 04 JUN (NAMPA) The government - which has the last say in whether the Erindi Private Game Reserve is sold by its current South African owners to Mexican billionaire, Alberto Baillères - has quashed insinuations that it has approved the deal.
Prime Minister (PM) Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said this on Monday in response to questions posed to her by Nampa.
First of all, government is not selling Erindi to anyone because Erindi is not owned by the government, she said, responding to what governments stance on the matter was.
Furthermore, she pointed out that the buying and selling of commercial land is regulated under an Act of Parliament, which is still in place.
She added that last year, government attempted but failed to amend the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act through the passing of the Land Bill.
The draft law would have, among other things, repealed the provision that allows for the sale land to foreigners.
The public was actually incited that if government was to go ahead and have that law amended to prohibit the sale of land to foreigners, we were pre-empting the land conference and all efforts to amend the law should be abandoned until after the land conference, she said.
She added that this failure to amend the law has now come back to bite Namibians.
The government, which gets preference to purchase in every commercial land deal, turned down the offer to buy Erindi, citing financial constraints.
I am quite confident that there is no authorisation granted by government to the owners of Erindi to sell that farm to foreigners, she said.
The PM reiterated: These people have the right under the law to ask for permission to be granted for them to sell land to foreigners, which we have not done.
The government-sponsored land indaba held last year, resolved against the sale of commercial agricultural land to foreigners.
The PMs comments come after, 16 traditional leaders last week threatened to incite their communities to revolt if the government continues to allow the sale of agricultural land to foreign nationals, referencing the over N.dollars 2 billion sale of Erindi.
Further easing the concerns of the traditional leaders, the PM said the government will never be party to any deal that is against the wishes and aspirations of the Namibian people.
Erindi Private Game Reserve is co-owned by brothers Gert and Paul Joubert, both South African nationals.
Opposition political parties have also come out to condemn the deal and have called on government to reject it.
The reported sale of the Erindi Private Game Reserve, is further subject to the approval of the Namibian Competitions Commission.