Schlettwein commits to land restoration

The former finance minister says the dignity of those who lost land unjustly must be restored.

24 March 2020 | Ministries



New lands minister Calle Schlettwein has affirmed commitment to help restore the dignity of Namibians whose land was taken away from them through historical injustices.

He is the new minister of agriculture, water and land reform, having served as finance minister for the past five years. Speaking to the media at State House yesterday after being sworn in with his peers, Schlettwein said it is important for government to correct unjust practices inherited from the past and to critically analyse and solve the land question.

“We must hear the people. If there is criticism, then we must honestly and critically look at it and correct it. This land, Namibia, is the only piece of land we have and it must be availed to its citizens. We must correct unjust practices we have inherited from our past and bring back dignity of those who have lost theirs because of these unjust practices,” he said.

Productive use of land

The former finance minister emphasised that land should not be availed for the sake of it, but that land must be utilised properly and productively, so that the whole economy benefits.

“We have the whole set of resolutions from the second land conference. We need to look at it to see how best we can implement them to do away with the aspects which caused the skewness of land distribution and the way we utilise land. We must ensure that land, as a means of production, is optimally used,” Schlettwein said. He further pointed out that food security and potable water cover the basic needs of people, which, at the same time, provide an economic opportunity that should be availed to all Namibians.

Resources belongs to us

Meanwhile, newly appointed fisheries minister Albert Kawana has committed to improve the working and living conditions of fishermen and those working at sea. He added that he is waiting on Cabinet to decide whether the fishing quotas allocation process be restarted from scratch.

According to Kawana, the country's fisheries resources belong to the Namibian people and must benefit them.

“Procurement of services needed in this fisheries sector must be done locally.

“I will give you an example: I know that people from Kavango and Omusati grew tomatoes and those tomatoes got rotten, but the people at sea imported tomatoes from overseas. It does not make sense to me,” he said.

Justice for all

New minister of justice Yvonne Dausab said making the law and justice accessible is important.

She said there are clear deliverables to make legal aid more widely available to the Namibian people.

“But something new that has also been placed on my desk as justice minister is the question of investigating possibilities to pilot small claims courts. This is something the Law Reform and Development Commission has worked,” she said.

Before her appointment as justice minister, Dausab served as the commission chairperson.

The justice ministry has also been tasked to provide more administrative support to the office of the attorney-general, which in Dausab's view will present an opportunity to ensure the courts are more accessible.

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