Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund-Governor of the Erongo Region, Cleophas Mutjavikua is concerned about what he says is the slow pace of the resettlement programme in the region.
Mutjavikua who recently delivered his State of the Region address in Swakopmund feels government needs to use a different approach when it comes to distribution of land under the resettlement programme in the Erongo region.
He says so far government has only acquired five farms, which have a combined size of 10,000 hectares in the region for the 2016/2017 financial year.
The region could only resettle five persons on those farms, all of who consisted of only male residents as beneficiaries.
“The Erongo Regional resettlement committee received 1,916 resettlement applications during the said financial year. It was virtually impossible to recommend all applicants as the demand for resettlement far exceeds the number of farming units advertised.
“Although only five farming units were advertised for allocation in Erongo, overall eight applicants from Erongo were beneficiaries of the land resettlement programme in Namibia,” he stated.
He further noted that commercial farms surrounded the resettlement farms in the Erongo region, unlike in other regions where resettlement farms were surrounded by wide, open spaces.
“Due to resettlement farms being surrounded by commercial farms it is impossible for farmers to move around especially in times of drought.
“Our request has always been and will remain that we want a different approach used when it comes to resettlement in the Erongo region. Only then we will have peace and harmony,” Mutjavikua said.
The governor made it clear that he is not advocating or encouraging anyone to invade commercial farmland, but recommended that at least 71 per cent of those being resettled in the region should be Erongo residents.
“Most of the time we do not look at that, but we need to expand on this especially in the region, so that we accommodate more productive people on such land.
“To date 510 farms measuring 3.1 million hectares have been acquired on the open market at a cost of N$1.7 billion by the government through the Ministry of Land Reform,” he added.