Selling traditionally occupied land before compensation is unlawful: Mushelenga

06 Aug 2019 12:10pm
ONGWEDIVA, 06 AUG (NAMPA) – Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga has called on local authorities in the country to refrain from selling traditionally occupied land to prospective buyers before compensating the occupants.
Mushelenga made the call during President Hage Geingob’s Town Hall Meeting at Ongwediva on Monday while responding to claims that some local authorities are grabbing traditionally occupied land and selling it before compensating previous owners.
This is the land found within the boundaries of a local authority.
An affected resident of the region, Salom Johannes alleged that the Ongwediva Town Council, before compensating his family, took their ancestral land and sold it to a local businessman.
He also claimed that the council has violated the government compensation policy which requires two free plots to be given to any occupant surrendering his/her ancestral land to a local authority for development purposes.
Johannes wanted to know what article in the Namibian Constitution mandates local authorities to sell land without the consent of its occupant.
Mushelenga emphasised that that there is no law that permits a local authority to grab land.
“Town councils are not supposed to sell land to prospective buyers before compensating the occupants,” he said.
He, however, told those present that the land belongs to the government and as such, local authorities must compensate the occupants only for improvements made and for fruit trees on the land.
“You (occupants) get two plots if you are not vacating the land. They are not free plots, because the cost is deducted from the compensation amount,” Mushelenga clarified.