On Wednesday the Minister of Land Reform, Utoni Nujoma, officially launched and received copies of the Hardap Integrated Regional Land Use Plan (HIRLUP).
He said efforts towards the development of integrated regional land use plans countrywide are focussed towards finding solutions to the efficient and sustainable utilisation of land.
The HIRLUP was submitted and approved by Cabinet through Cabinet decision 13/28.09.10/002. Cabinet directed that the HIRLUP shall be the reference for all further developments in the Hardap Region and be implemented by the Hardap Regional Council.
“We have launched the integrated land use plan for Hardap Region. This plan is a collaborated effort with the Ministry of Land Reform which is the custodian of land planning in the whole of Namibia. The process has involved all regional council and local constituency councillors, the KFW Basket Fund and GIZ,” stated Nujoma.
Nujoma said the ministry has embarked upon the programme because of the competing inte-rests of land use.
“There must be very comprehensive land planning to avoid conflicts. The challenge is because of the growing population, land degradation and the effects of climate change. All these factors have made us to think how to plan properly, to do demarcation and to avoid conflicts within the communities,” he said.
The programme started in earnest in //Karas Region and is now followed by Hardap.
“It is going well. Pilot programmes were started in Zambezi Region. We are planning to roll out to other regions.
“We have plans for Kavango West and Kavango East and also for Otjozondjupa Region. We are also looking at rural development plans so we that can integrate them in the national land use plan,” Nujoma said.
Nujoma said the ultimate objective is to have a national land use plan for the whole country.
“We also intend to integrate the communal lands because we see there is a substantial amount of land which amounts to millions of hectares that are unutilised and underutilised. So we plan to bring these areas into one and unlock the potential of the country. We see the potential in communal areas and plan to fence off some of those areas, drill boreholes and resettle families there,” said Nujoma. He added that everybody wants a piece of land.
“The land of course is there but the demand is so high that is important to plan properly. If we do not plan we may destroy the land. Land use planning is vital for poverty eradication, for food security and of course the harambee plan of his Excellency President Hage Geingob, who calls on us to make use of the little we have by exercising proper planning so that we make land available for every Namibian who needs land,” Nujoma told reporters.
The CEO of Kalkrand Village Council Seth Boois said the literature on land use would be a guideline on how to go about land planning. Boois said the resettlement process ought to be looked into critically where it addresses the question of resettlement.
“Therefore, training should be given and should be made part and parcel of the process in terms of requirements. We can only look at the challenges once the implementation process starts,” he said.
The acting chief regional officer of Hardap Regional Council, Theresia Basson, who is also the director of planning and development services in Hardap, said recent statistics showed that sanitation, sewerage and servicing of land are a problem in the region.
“Housing is another aspect. With the decentralisation process whereby different ministries bring people in from other areas Mariental does not have enough houses for all. We need to service land. We have growth areas that we have identified like Schilp which we need to declare as a settlement to get an income from it,” stated Basson.
She said the town also needs an office park as officials come to town but they do not have enough office space.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Hardap Integrated Regional Land Use Plan seeks to promote appropriate development that brings long-term benefits for the country in ways that maintain life, diversity, habitats, culture and beauty of the region.
Extracts from the report indicate six main economic sectors that can positively contribute to the country’s goals as set out in Vision 2030. Strategies and directives in NDP3 are also highlighted. The sectors are irrigation farming, livestock and game farming, resettlement farming, conservation and tourism, mining, energy, towns and infrastructure.
The plan proposes various zones in the region where specific activities should be prioritised. The SEA supports zonation while reemphasising the need to improve efficiency of water use.
Hardap is one of the 14 political regions demarcated by the Second Delimitation Commission of 1998. It is well located within the national context as it is situated in the major north-south road corridor traversing Namibia, which carries much of the traffic to and from South Africa.
The economy of the region is mostly driven by agriculture that includes small and large stock farming and large-scale irrigation, and more recently tourism.