Erindi was not suitable for resettlement: Geingob

17 Jun 2019 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 17 JUN (NAMPA) - President Hage Geingob on Tuesday said the Erindi Private Game Reserve is not suitable for resettlement.
Geingob made these remarks after the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO)’s newly elected and first female president, Esther Utjiua Muinjangue along with her leadership, paid a courtesy visit to State House on Monday.
Muinjangue used the courtesy visit to raise some national issues that are of concern to the NUDO, including the land and resettlement programme.
“Our concern is that while the [ancestral land] commission has just started with its work, we see that land is being sold and they have not even concluded their work and come up with a report,” she stressed.
Geingob made reference to the Erindi Private Game Reserve, saying the matter between the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement and the owners started before the 2018 land conference.
“They [Ministry of Lands and Resettlement] normally have to look at a farm when offered. We are saying the owner of the farm must first make an offer to the state, and the state must first see if that farm is suitable for resettlement. You can go and see it, I don’t know how many of you have seen Erindi. It’s tough to settle people there and therefore it was said it is not suitable to resettle people there,” he noted.
He also explained while making reference to the law before the 2018 land conference, that after finding Erindi not suitable, a waver was then given to the owners to sell the property.
“Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana I think was the minister at the time to sell the farm. These people [the owners] didn’t know that they had waver at that time, which was still valid,” he explained.
Geingob said that government then opted to buy the farm.
“The amount that was set was N.dollars 1.9 billion dollars. We did our own evaluation and said it should be about N.dollars 250 million that we can offer but then the owners said no, and that’s the law,” he stated.
The Head of State said that after the land conference, the government is still working on a law that will prohibit the sale of land to foreign nationals, but until that law is passed, the status quo shall continue.
He also explained that even if government takes action against the sale of Erindi, the owners of the farm could take the state to court and government would pay even more if they lose the case.