Daniel Friedman
2 minute read
9 Oct 2018
10:44 am

Namibia takes SA’s lead in pursuing land expropriation

Daniel Friedman

While the country has abandoned the willing-buyer willing-seller model and will be expropriating land, it will do so with 'just' compensation.

Picture: Twitter - @southerntimesa

Namibia has resolved to abandon the willing-buyer willing-seller method of land reform, committing to implement land expropriation. This follows the country’s second national land conference held in Windhoek on Monday. The first was held a year after the country gained independence from South Africa in 1991.

But while expropriation is certainly on the agenda, unlike Namibia’s neighbours to the south, the country will not be debating the changing of their constitution, and has agreed to implement expropriation “within the confines of the Namibian Constitution,” which would include with “just compensation,” according to coverage from southern African publication The Southern Times.

At the conference, the country committed to enacting the expropriation of foreign-owned agricultural land as well as to expropriating under-utilised Namibian-owned commercial farms.

The conference resolved to expropriate foreign-owned agricultural land, and also to subject under-utilised commercial farms owned by Namibians to expropriation.

The principle of “one Namibian, one farm” was also agreed to.

The conference committed to ensuring a pre- and post-resettlement programme for farmers affected by expropriation would be put in place.

READ MORE: An open letter to Donald Trump about ‘Nambia’

Resettlement programmes would also prioritise groups including the youth, women, marginalised communities, those with disabilities and veterans of the liberation struggle. Land rights for traditional leaders in the country would also be adhered to.

At the conference it was decided that large communal farmers should be encouraged to relocate to urban areas in order to free up grazing space.

A progressive tax system and a tax for absentee landlords would be implemented.

The conference resolved to address the plight of landless communities by identifying “alternative restorative methods.”

Last week, the country’s president, Hage Geingob, highlighted the need for “difficult conversations” to take place around the land issue, “with the aim of finding peaceful and sustainable solutions to the challenges of inequality, landlessness and outstanding pains of genocide”.

“It’s true that whites stole our land, but they’re also Namibians,” said Geingob at a recent heroes’ day commemoration in northern Namibia.

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