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LAND CONFERENCE AIMS FOR CONSENSUS

LAND CONFERENCE AIMS FOR CONSENSUS

CONSENSUS and not a simple majority will guide the
adoption of resolutions of the sec­ond Land Conference underway in Windhoek,
with close to a thousand delegates from all levels of Namibian society
attending marathon sessions since Monday.

While there are a myriad of views and divergent perspectives, the Namibian government is set to
pass resolutions on Friday, 5 October, on key issues such as
land-expropriation, ancestral land, urban land redistribu­tion and various
other burning ques­tions, amongst them food security and tenure.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Commu­nication Technology (MICT),
Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana, during one of the breakaway sessions explained to
delegates that consensus agreements from the different plenary sessions from a
multitude of stakeholders will be adopted in order to move from the past and
create a roadmap for the future. “We need to move on from the past and
establish the roadmap to the future. Discussions from Monday and throughout the
week will determine recommendations and resolutions which will be passed on
Friday,”. Ua-Ndjarakana said. During a breakaway session that was closed to the
media the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU), the Deputy Minister of Finance,
Natangwe Ithete and the Swapo SG, Sophia Nhaningwa, enaged in open and lively
exchanges on the willing-buyer-willing seller policy.

The president of the NAU, Ryno van der Merwe, explained that for them the handing over of owner­ship
of land is not an option on the table, but consented to allocating farm workers
with decent retirement packages, keeping of livestock, profit sharing and
saving schemes.

“Many farmers are on board with these ideas. We are not evasive on the issues and accept that
government has responsibilities. Land reform is part of the process of
rectifying past injustices. We have to identify the reasons why the government
did not purchase farms that were offered. My point is, there are willing
sellers. If the issue is inflated pricing, let’s talk about it,”

he said.
Firing back at this suggestion, Deputy Minister of Finance, Natangwe Ithete,
noted that the reality is that that not even government can afford it. Whilst
on the subject of willing buyer-willing seller, Swapo Secretary General Sophia
Shaningwa stated that the subject of willing seller is dangerous.

“There is a
trend going on that most of these farmers who have exorbitant amounts of land
divide their property into smaller pieces and sell it off to banks.”

Consensus decisions will be part of tomorrow’s roadmap on the way forward.

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