The government has set out its blueprint to settle landless Namibians in a grand strategic plan, in line with Vision 2030 and NDP4.
WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement has set itself an ambitious target to purchase over 2.5 million hectares (ha) of land and increase the annual number of resettled landless Namibians to at least 502 families by 2016/17. To achieve the targets the ministry would need an estimated N$3.7 billion as a development budget for the years leading to 2017. The money would be spent on land acquisition and allocation.
For this year alone the ministry is aiming at acquiring 77 000 ha of land under its Land Reform Programme to resettle 31 landless Namibians by the end of the current financial year, which is the 2013/14 financial period that ends in March next year. This was revealed by the lands permanent secretary, Lidwina Shapwa, yesterday at the launch of the ministry’s strategic plan for the financial years 2013/14 to 2016/17.
“The Land Reform Programme remains a priority for the government and this is demonstrated by the amount of resources that are being invested in redressing the skewed land ownership patterns. The process may seem slow but the programme is well defined and the ministry understands its responsibility, and is on course to deliver within the agreed legal and policy framework,” said Minister of Lands and Resettlement Alpheus !Naruseb.
The first edition of the strategic plan 2011-2016 was launched in 2011 and the ministry has since amended the plan to be more aligned with Vision 2030 and the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4).
Thus far, a total of 4 981 previously disadvantaged landless Namibians from various regions of the country have benefited from the National Resettlement Programme since independence. !Naruseb described the figure as enough evidence that the resettlement programme is not a failure.
The majority of people were resettled in the Omaheke Region followed by Kunene Region.
!Naruseb told parliament recently that a total of N$76 850 million has so far been spent on the Land Acquisition and Development Programme in which a total of 345 farms comprising two million hectares have been acquired.
During the launch of the ministry’s strategic plan, the minister called upon commercial farmers to continue offering their farms to the ministry for possible acquisition.
According to him, all farms acquired by the ministry since independence have been purchased with money appropriated by parliament and so also for the infrastructural rehabilitation programme. “Thus manifesting a clear testimony of the government’s commitment to land reform,” he said.
He lauded his team for having achieved the objectives of the strategic plans from 2011 to 2013 before the NDP4 was finalised and published for implementation.
Lands and Resettlement Deputy Minister, Theo Diergaardt, reminded his ministry to work harder in implementing the plan to meet the set targets. “Developing an effective strategic plan is only half the battle, getting it implemented is the other half – and generally the tougher half and most important in realising the goals and strategic objectives of the ministry. Therefore, the implementation part of the strategic plan must be taken very seriously. The monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the strategic plan needs to be conducted on a quarterly and annual basis in order to assess progress and performance and take corrective actions once the strategic objectives are not met,” he cautioned.
By Albertina Nakale