Land doesn't make you rich - Geingob

27 July 2020 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



President Hage Geingob says some people think once they have land, they will be rich. But this is not so, the head of state said at the weekend.

Geingob was speaking on Friday when the ancestral land commission handed over its final report to him, along with a draft Ancestral Land and Restitution Bill.

Geingob said some people also think they are poor because they don't have land.

He emphasised that ancestral land remains a serious challenge, and land itself is a very difficult issue.

According to him, this is why land is not mentioned in the constitution, except where it states that traditional authorities will advise the president on the usage of traditional or state land.



“It was put under property rights. We had western so-called constitutional principles which were guiding us and they put it under property rights; protecting basically the white people's kith and kin, who have land, but they put it under property rights, defended under the constitution. But we are now in a new dawn and we must represent everyone,” Geingob said.



“The report will be released after a week or so, after we have looked into it.”







History of land



According to the chair of the commission, High Court judge Shafimana Uietele, the report briefly addresses historical land dispossession during the German and South African colonial periods.



“When people are claiming ancestral land, you cannot just take a person and give them land. It needs to be informed by a number of factors such as economic status, water provision and the usability of land,” he said.



According to Ueitele, during public consultations in all 121 constituencies, approximately 8 891 people appeared before the commission and about 4 000 written and oral testimonies were submitted.



“During our public hearings, we realised there are certain issues and matters which are urgent and which we want to bring to the attention of the president and the government. These matters cannot also be addressed without legislative changes and the adoption of new policies,” he said.







Long-awaited



Last February, Geingob appointed commission, which was one of the recommendations of the country's second national land conference held in October 2018.



The other members of the commission are Fanuel Kapaama (deputy chair) Neels Kooper, Anna Fredericks, Willem Konjore, Ryno van der Merwe, Inge Murangi, Jeaneth Kuhanga, Uhuru Dempers, Helmke von Bach, Nadia le Hane, Joseph Petrus van der Westhuizen, Professor Lazarus Hangula, Marius Kudumo and chief Immanuel /Gaseb.







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