Keetmanshoop-Leaders in the //Kharas Region say the regional resettlement committee and its chairperson should be given the powers to have the final say on the selection of people for resettlement in the region. Currently the regional resettlement committee only makes recommendations to the National Resettlement Committee, while the minister of land reform has the final say on the recommended applicants.
The sentiments were expressed during a consultative workshop on the review of the National Resettlement Policy of 2001 at Keetmanshoop on Thursday, with the regional leaders saying the regional committee must be given all the powers to resettle people.
“The regional committee should be given the power to resettle people in the region – let us decentralise the power,” said Oranjemund Constituency Councillor Lazarus Nangolo, who felt it is better to decentralise the selection power to the regional committee to make the final approval on who gets resettled in the region.
Nangolo also called on lawmakers not to allow resettled farmers to buy the farms after a period of time, as per the reviewed resettlement policy, saying land should remain the property of the state and not be sold to private individuals.
He said Namibians find themselves in a situation without land because the colonial government allowed private land ownership, and this should not be allowed to happen again.
Councillor Elias !Kharuxab of Keetmanshoop Rural Constituency echoed Nangolo’s sentiments on the decentralisation of power, questioning why the Ministry of Land Reform has only decentralised some functions and not all of them.
He said decentralisation cannot be done in half, and therefore the power to resettle people in the region should be with the regional resettlement committee, and not with the land reform minister as is the case now.
“Why are we given half? We should be given the power as a region to make the final decision for ourselves on who should be resettled here,” he said.
He further called for representation on the regional resettlement committee to be inclusive of the village councils and regional councillors whom he said represent the people.
Keetmanshoop Mayor Gaudentia Kronhe said people should be resettled in their respective regions, citing work commitments and other logistical issues when relocating to farms far from where they live, saying people cannot be expected to quit their jobs and relocate to other regions to be near their farms.
“My plea is that people be resettled in their own region, so this programme must be decentralised so that the resettlement committee can resettle people in their own region,” she suggested.
Others in attendance called for a fair and transparent programme and for more assistance from the government to resettled farmers to enable them to farm productively, while some felt leasing the farms is hindering the development of the farms, and people should be allowed to buy and develop the farms.