GOBABIS, NAMIBIA, July 17 -- Inadequate budgetary provision for acquisition and limited supply are some of the challenges encountered in restoring land to landless Namibians since the inception of the land reform programme in 1991, according to the Ministry of Land Reform.
Added to this is an uneven distribution of land offers, as most offers to the government are coming from the southern regions of Hardap and Kharas, the Ministry reported in a presentation on the state of land reform during a two-day regional consultative meeting on the matter held here last week.
The meeting was convened to gauge opinions and gather inputs from the public on land reform issues, ahead of the Second Land Conference in September this year.
According to the ministry, the government has been finding it difficult to acquire land as owners had registered commercial land under companies and closed corporations to circumvent the law. There is also high demand for land under the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme run by Agribank in areas with the most suitable commercial land such as the Otjozondjupa Region, which leaves the National Resettlement Programme with marginal agricultural land.
The ministry's statement noted that the government had failed to fully address issues of farm land owned by foreigners and absentee landlords, mainly because of the slow pace of creating legislation to this effect.
Although the Agricultural Land Reform Act of 1995 and the Land Bill both address the issue of land acquisition by non-Namibians and the registration of land under companies, such laws are yet to be implemented.
As such, the amendment to existing legislation that deals with land ownership by foreign nationals, is still pending. The government has also been hitting a brick wall continuously in some areas when it comes to the expropriation of farmland for resettlement purposes.