Lands not in support of AR petition

Martin Endjala

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, says it is not in full agreement with a petition by the Affirmative Repositioning movement demanding that foreigners not be allowed to owned land in Namibia.

More so, said the ministry that many of the proposals in the AR petition is accommodated in the current land bill under consideration in Parliament.

Petrus Nangolo Director of Land Reform in the ministry narrated this during the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources public hearing on AR petition that is calling for the regulation of foreign ownership of land in Namibia in Windhoek today.

Nangolo said that communal land in the country under current regulations is not allowed to be sold to foreigners and that it has not changed.

However, Nangolo stressed that agricultural land should not be owned but leased with given directives and adherence to the Environmental Act. “We need more agriculture, and we must admit that we cannot do everything by ourselves,” Nangolo said.

He further cautioned that as much as the land bill is being finalized, it is important that it is in line with the supreme law of the country.

Additionally, the Director stated that partnerships between Namibians and foreign investors must be promoted on communal land without giving ownership to expatriate investors.

Nangolo reiterated that the current bill provides provision for leasing of communal land, pointing out that perhaps the only adjustment needed is to define it fully as currently it is not well defined.

The ministry has taken a stance to maintain the current bill, accentuating that it has extensively addressed most of the AR concerns.

The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board has also said that it is not in support of the AR petition on foreign ownership.

NIPDB Chief Operating Officer Richwell Lukongo said it is not advisable to have too many laws addressing the administration of land.

“Let us reactivate our economy, create jobs, and investors needs assurance what they will get in return
if they are to invest”, Lukongo opined.

The National Youth Council chairperson J.P. Van Der Westhuizen, welcomed the petition saying that it is high time that young people are finally included in deliberations on matters of land.

Van der Westhuizen said that giving land to the young people will not only guarantee them security and development, but it will invigorate their passion and love towards farming and agriculture given the low percentage of young people’s involvement in the agricultural sector.

The committee chairperson Tjekero Tweya, said that it is pleasing to hear that young people have such sentiments, while stressing that it is not a blame game, and that the committee wants to resolve the matter as in like yesterday.

“It is not a bone of contention, why is it a problem, we are not interested in your profound English but rather your solutions, if you are saying it’s not your mandate than who is the legislature who regulates all these issues”, Tweya pointed out.

The hearing was adjourned and the matter is now close.

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