Resettlement benefits few in Khomas

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WINDHOEK, 12 December 2016 - Khomas Region Governor Laura MacLeod-Katjirua officiating at the opening session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Forum on Strengthening Health Systems in Windhoek. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-Only thirty families in the Khomas Region have benefited from the government’s resettlement programme since its inception, Khomas Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua revealed on Monday.

McLeod-Katjirua was speaking during the launch of the consultation workshop on preparations for the 2nd national land conference scheduled for September 18 – 22.

She said since the inception of the land reform programme and despite growing demands for land in the region Khomas has witnessed a scarcity of land acquisition by the Ministry of Land Reform through the willing buyer, willing seller principle.

“The ministry only managed to acquire nine farms measuring 72,421 hectares,” she said, adding that of the nine farms only 30 individuals were resettled on the land.

Additionally, the region has four group resettlement farms with more than 90 households, which are now overcrowded with people and livestock.

“The Khomas Region, through the Land Reform Advisory Commission and Khomas Regional Resettlement Committee, has received thousands of applications for resettlement purposes over the years.”

However, she said, the supply of land is not forthcoming to meet regional land demands and needs.

“We may be aware that Khomas Region does not have a communal area which makes the land issue in the region very complex,” she said, adding that this issue has resulted in some people residing and/or farming in farm corridors and next to national roads, while others occupy land illegally which subjects them to evictions.

McLeod-Katjirua said the situation fuels one of the government’s key aspirations to have land reform that reflects the public interest and harmonises the nation’s relationship with land.

The vision is to foster a strong relationship in which ownership and use of land deliver greater public benefit through a democratically accountable and transparent system that promotes fairness and social justice, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.

She said the aspiration is for a fairer and more equitable distribution of land where communities and individuals can own and use land to realize their potential. “Land must be an asset that benefits many, not only a few, whether in urban or rural areas,” she said.

Furthermore, she said the convening of land reform consultation is timely “given that we are decades behind addressing this single most important hurdle to development”.

“The majority of inhabitants of this region derive their livelihood from land, hence our deliberations on land issues affecting this region, and the country needs our collective dire consideration,” she said.

She said land was fundamental in the struggle for liberation.
“The fundamental basis of all wealth and power is the ownership and acquisition of leasehold title to land.”

McLeod-Katjirua called on participants in the deliberations to be mindful of the sensitivity surrounding the land issue and to discuss it as Namibians.

“Let us respect each other’s opinions, without any confrontations, harassment, victimisation, interception and interruption that might derail the objective of this democratic consultation.”

She said that as the regional governor and chairperson of the Khomas Regional Resettlement Committee she can attest that Khomas is faced with numerous land-related challenges.

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