Nam spends US$155m on land reforms

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Windhoek - The Namibian government has spent about N$2,3 billion (approximately US$155 million) to buy 558 farms covering 3,4 million hectares since independence in 1990 as part of its land tenure reforms.

Agriculture, Water and Land, and Land Reform Deputy Minister Anna Shiwedha told Parliament this week that despite this progress, there were still gross inequalities in land tenure across the country.

She also said, “To give effect to the Flexible Land Tenure Act, the ministry commenced with piloting its implementation in three local authority areas, namely; Oshakati, Gobabis and Windhoek. The main purpose of piloting was to ascertain whether the provisions of the Flexible Land Tenure Act are adequate and that they can be implemented successfully on the ground.”

Deputy Minister Shiwedha said the Flexible Land Tenure Act was complemented by promulgation of the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002.

“The government did not sit with the reformation, management and/or redistribution of rural and agricultural land only. The reform included urban land to address divisive and unjust urban policies of both the German and South African colonial administrations which mainly created centres exclusively for white residential, recreational and business areas and the forceful removal of indigenous people from those centers to the current Katutura in Windhoek, Orwetoveni in Otjiwarongo, Erongosig in Usakos, and many others.

“In fact, such removals were implemented in all towns in the areas south of the Cordon Fence,” she said.

The deputy minister said uneven distribution of land had resulted in the growth of informal settlements in Namibia.

Implementation of the Flexible Land Tenure Act, she said, required expansion of administrative capacity at local authority level.

“The Flexible Land Tenure Act is in full swing … Its implementation has already produced tangible results, such as land titles issued to the beneficiaries, which contributes to the security of tenure for people living in informal settlements, which at the end of the day formalises the informal settlements, as required by the Act,” she added.

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