Stake your claim

16 May 2019 | Agriculture

JEMIMA BEUKES



Those who want to claim ancestral land rights have until 20 June to submit their claims and supporting evidence to the Commission of Inquiry into Claims of Ancestral Land Rights and Restitution.

In the past a number of communities made public claims to Windhoek and central Namibia as their ancestral land, but little evidence was presented.

The Damara people claimed that they had lived in most of present-day central Namibia before the arrival of Bantu, Nama and European migrants.

The Ovaherero Traditional Authority also claimed the bulk of central Namibia as part of its pre-colonial land.

The Ovaherero also claimed the area east of Windhoek, beyond Gobabis, including the area south of the White Nossob River up to its confluence with the Black Nossob River.

To date the Khoisan groups, including the Nama people, have not made public their claims to ancestral land.

The chair of the commission, Judge Shafimana Ueitele, yesterday said the commission would listen to all groups and communities without fear or prejudice.

He said the commission planned to visit the regions from 17 June until 25 July and was putting together historical and legal documents as well information collected during site visits.

The 15-member commission was appointed by President Hage Geingob on 21 February this year.

The second national land conference adopted 169 resolutions to be implemented by the government and among them was the issue of ancestral land claims and restitution.

Ueitele yesterday emphasised that the submissions must be typewritten, preferably in English, and must state the name of the claim, provide background and evidence of such claims.

“The commission has a tight schedule to finalise the inquiry and present the report. Let us also make a commitment that members of the commission do not represent any particular interest and are not in any position to influence the work of commission. The quality of the commission’s output is dependent on the quality of the inputs that it will receive from the public,” Ueitele said.

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