Standing committee disappointed with Lands

Martin Endjala

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources has expressed dissatisfaction in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, for failing to extensively study the Affirmative Repositioning petition that calls for a regulation land ownership by foreigners at today’s public hearing at parliament.

The standing committee officials, stressed that land issues are very sensitive and procrastination will lead to chaos, calling on the ministry it seriously and to thoroughly study the petition.

The deputy chairperson of the committee Agnes Mpingana Kafula, week to study the petition to deliberate on the matter next week Tuesday at 12h00.

“I am in agreement with the committee members’ sentiments, we expect you to comeback with concrete information, evidence to show that can address the petition”, Kafula ordered.

The hearing was postponed for a week officials from the MAWLR informed the committee that they have not studied the AR petition extensively, claiming that they received the petition late, after they have already compiled their report to present to the committee.

The standing committee members also raised concerns about the prolonged delays by the MAWLR in finalizing the draft report to fully address the issue and submitting it to parliament for further deliberations.

Despite the dissatisfaction, the MAWLR officials gave insight on the progress made in the draft land bill, stating that they are still in consultations and are planning to conduct workshops with the Ministry of Justice, to discuss in detail the Land Reform Act of 1995, that is currently being amended to consolidate all Namibians concerns.

However, the officials pointed out that there are loopholes, which are an impediment to amending, henceforth, the reasonable date line when it will be completed is September 2022 to February 2023 in the National Assembly.Both the Commercial Land and Communal Lands Acts are subjects that are being debated, the ministry officials said. They highlighted that the communal land is not owned by foreigners nor sold to foreigners but that expatriates are allowed to buy commercial lands under the reviewed 2010 Amendment Expropriation Act.

About 1.7 million hectors of land is owned by foreigners, which prompted an outcry from the public upon learning these figures.

The committee, has urged the MAWLR officials, to conduct their consultations and hand over their reports to the committee not later than June or July, in order to compare their findings and investigate them further with identified stakeholders.

Officials of MAWLR have however, reiterated that all due processes in consulting the identified stakeholders were consulted and will further extend such consultations to the stakeholders before presenting the final draft bill to the National Assembly.



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