Kessl Case Tests Land Reform Laws

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By Catherine Sasman

WINDHOEK

The High Court’s ruling in favour of foreign owners challenging Government’s erroneous expropriation processes of their farmlands, has affirmed that Namibia is premised on the rule of law, said Director of Legal Assistance Centre, Norman Tjombe, last week.

“All actions and decisions must be based on what the constitution requires. This is very important because with the terribly skewed land ownership in the country, the need for land reform will remain, and it will get more critical as time progresses, and we thus need to have clarity and guidance on the law and the requirements imposed by the law,” Tjombe said.

The LAC has launched its publication based on the outcome of the case, Kessl: A New Jurisprudence of Land Reform in Namibia? Co-authored by Sidney Harring and Willem Odendaal, the paper argues that the judgment of the case presents an argument that the case does indeed set a new path towards a new jurisprudence of land reform in the country.

In March Judge Sylvester Mainga ordered that the decision by the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement to expropriate farms Gross Ozombutu, Okozongutu West, Welgelegen and Haimaterde in the Otjozondjupa region be set aside after the ministry and the Land Reform Advisory Commission failed to comply with several requirements of the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Act.

Government was ordered by the court to pay legal costs to the applicants G?

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