The Divundu Village Council Chief Executive Officer, Athanasius Maghumbo has called on residents to refrain from selling land that belongs to the state to investors.
The land referred to is the land that forms part of the townlands, in from which the residents are required to move to pave way for development. According to Maghumbo, the village council has been experiencing a rising number of sales of communal land around Divundu village by residents, which does not belong to them and they are not mandated to dispose of.
“The Council is challenged by sales of communal land by local residents to which they do not have title to privately. They also claim that the tariff for compensation is very low and doesn’t understand that the land belongs to the state and entrusted to the local authority for management purposes which includes alienation. The problem with the residents is that they want to sell land directly to investors while the village council is the only body mandated by law to sell land in a proclaimed area such as a local authority,’’ Maghumbo pointed out. He warned residents they they will be charged criminally against selling land that does not belong to them.
Divundu settlement in Kavango East, is 200km east of Rundu on the TransCaprivi Highway and has a population of 5 430 inhabitants. “We sell the land privately because it is rightfully ours and the government just gives us peanuts compare to what investors will pay us for the land. The investors really give us a lot of money.
The land belongs to us and our ancestors, it does not belong to the state as they are claiming. Our forefathers where here before them,’’ said an aggrieved resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In addition, he said the council takes long to compensate when compared to private investors who according to the resident pay them within weeks or even days. Maghumbo said the council compensates affected communities as per Compensation Policy Guidelines for Communal Land of 2009 and that the government is responsible for compensation which is done through Council and in their case a Local Authority.
Last year Kavango West governor Sirrka Ausiku called for the review of the compensation policy used by local and regional council authorities to compensate landowners who pave way for development. She said the limited budget that they receive from the line ministry makes it difficult to fulfill some of their duties, such as the issue of compensation for the inhabitants.