Land referendum calls intensify
28 September 2018 | Politics
This was one of the key issues to emerge in a leaked government position paper, which included comments from recent regional consultations, ahead of the country's second national land conference that takes place next week.
According to the document, there is scarcity of land, but the prevailing terms and conditions for government to acquire it makes such efforts unaffordable and unsustainable.
The position paper said that in the past, offers for it to purchase prime land were not forthcoming from the Otjozondjupa, Omaheke, Kunene, Erongo and Hardap regions.
“However, three years ago the lands ministry was flooded with farm offers from these regions and it was not possible to purchase these prime properties, mainly due to the economic turbulence that followed and high prices per hectare.”
The document says it may also be necessary for the land reform ministry to advertise farms targeting formerly disadvantaged Namibians, in cases where the state is unable to purchases these land parcels.
“In order to solve this problem without a referendum on the constitution, which may generate other undesirable outcomes, it may be possible to amend article 100 of the constitution, which talks to sovereign ownership of natural resources, including land, to be vested in the state.”
The document highlights that past injustices are still prevailing today, as Namibia inherited a divided and skewed land distribution pattern, stemming from centuries of colonialisation and foreign occupation. It also warned that expropriation within the law “may be not be avoided unless foreigners who own 3% and formerly advantaged Namibians who own 62% of the land make concessions and avail land for acquisition and redistribution”.
“There is a notion in some quarters that land acquisition for distribution to the landless threatens both domestic and foreign investment without realising that inequality in land ownership constitutes a threat to peace and stability,” the document states.