Windhoek-Zambezi Governor Lawrence Sampofu has said although the region is blessed with a high density of vegetation, it also makes it difficult for aerial photo mapping and this has led to Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping reducing the set target, as it is time-consuming.
Further, he maintained it has been observed that communities expect Ministry of Land Reform officials to show them their parcel boundaries during mapping exercises. Another issue of concern he mentioned was the low turnout of applicants during mapping and verification, which has been one of the limitations in the land right registration process.
“It is against this background that we still encounter a number of land disputes over land parcels in the region,” he noted. In addition, Sampofu said unresolved disputes over areas of jurisdictions between various traditional authorities and village boundaries in the region have contributed to the slow pace of land right registration and infrastructure development in the region.
Nonetheless, he said the Zambezi Communal Land Board managed to register 1,701 customary land rights and 11 leaseholds rights during 2016. Sampofu noted the customary land rights certificates were issued to respective traditional authorities throughout the region, who in turn will distribute them to their subjects.
In addition, he said the Zambezi Communal Land Board – with the assistance of the traditional authorities – could investigate and successfully resolved seven land disputes. The communal land registration programme aims to ensure equitable land distribution in communal areas of Namibia.
Regarding illegal fences, Sampofu noted that court orders were requested through the High Court on the identified illegal fences and that these fences were due to be removed, as per the provisions of Communal Land Reform Act of 2002.
He added, through the Harambee Prosperity Plan, the Ministry of Land Reform is mandated to host a Second National Land Conference in September that aims to address the challenges of land reform in the country.
Therefore, he urged all inhabitants of Zambezi Region and the rest of Namibia to be patient while the government through the Ministry of Land Reform organises the hosting of the second National Land Conference that will deliberate and guide decision-makers on how the country ‘s land resources should best be managed and administered.
Equally, he said the Ministry of Land Reform has taken a decision to implement a long-awaited goal: to decentralise their regional staff members and some activities to Zambezi Regional Council.
He also commended the orientation workshop on functions of the Ministry of Land Reform delegated to members of the regional council’s management committee, the chief regional officer and senior managers of Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West regions in Katima Mulilo on December 1 to 2, 2016. The official handover ceremony took place in Windhoek on May 10.