Give communal land to communities

A proposal has been made that preference to ancestral land claims be given to communities that have lost land.

09 August 2019 | Agriculture

Swanu has recommended that the Namibian government give up its ownership of communal land in favour of the traditional communities legally occupying the land.

The party made this submission to the commission of inquiry into ancestral land rights and restitution that is currently conducting public hearings in the Khomas Region.

In its submission, Swanu states that its recommendation on community ownership is feasible given the fact that the government has already embarked on the process of registering 20 hectares in respect of community land rights.

It states that its recommendation complies with Article 10 of the Namibian constitution, which provides for the protection of both private and community title deeds.

The party further recommends that an Act of parliament on ancestral land rights be promulgated to guide the process of ancestral land claims and restitution.

Moreover, it recommends that preference be given to claimants who have direct and substantial interest in the land in question, and not all previously disadvantaged persons.

Swanu's submission, signed by its president Tangeni Iijambo, recommends that the Namibian government, as a successor state to South African colonial rule, must enter “urgent discussions” with the United Nations, which has a direct responsibility towards Namibia, to convene a “funding conference on restitution”.

It proposes the establishment of a joint commission on ancestral land funding, comprised of Namibia, Germany and South Africa, to shoulder financial responsibility emanating from land dispossessions.

Swanu further proposes that claims of ancestral land rights be made in respect of land dispossessions that occurred from 1884 to 1990, and not merely the pre-colonial period.

It also demands a policy of national reconciliation, which it says has so far only been a “Swapo press release” made in May 1989.



'No place of our own'

Members of the council of the Afrikaner Traditional Authority, led by Chief Edward Afrikaner, told the commission that they have been living on land borrowed from the Bondelswarts since 1978.

“We have no place of our own,” the authority says in its submission, adding that several attempts have been made by previous leaders to engage the Namibian government on the issue, but that nothing has so far been forthcoming.

The authority recommends that 400 000 hectares in the Khomas Region be given to the Afrikaner authority.

The authority claims that modern-day Erindi is situated on the ancestral land of the Afrikaner clan. Erindi is made up of seven farms that were consolidated under the juristic entity, Brigadoon (Pty) Ltd, and is now for sale.

“Today, the Afrikaners cannot claim any land they call their own, as our ancestral land is called private land and dominantly protected by the [Namibian] constitution for the elite few and the rich,” the authority states in its submission.

The authority also recommends that a monument of Jonker Afrikaner, founder of Windhoek, be erected at a suitable place to be determined by the traditional authority.

It seeks assistance with the identification of the remains of the person identified as “Jonker” who was purportedly buried at Jonkersgrab, west of Windhoek.

Equally, it recommends that all roads and avenues named after Jan Jonker be renamed to Jan Jonker Afrikaner.

CATHERINE SASMAN

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