The Deputy Minister of Information, Communication and Technology (MICT), Engel Nawatiseb has stated that given the fact that bulk of the land in Namibia is in private hands which is protected by the constitution, the government is conscious that the issue of ancestral land definitely may have a bearing on existing property rights of some citizens, and hence is an issue which should be treated with sensitivity.
Nawatiseb who was defending the establishment of the Ancestral Land Commission who has so far gobbled up N$10 million on the country wide visits stated that the creation of the Ancestral Land claims commission was a necessity, as it is will deal with the issue with the sensitivity it requires, and within the given Constitutional and legal framework.
The Minister stated that those who willfully did not attend the Second National Land Conference and thus betrayed the land trust and mandate of the landlessness cannot be comfortable with the land conference, and one of its most tangible outcomes which is the Ancestral Land Rights commission.
He however stated that findings by the Commission of inquiry which has started its work and has been visiting the different regions of the country certainly will not be cast in stone, but is rather a beginning and honest start which had to be made sooner than later and somewhere towards unraveling the vexed question of ancestral land and land hunger in general.
“One thing needs to be absolutely clear, this commission is just an inquiry which is any process that has the aim of augmenting knowledge, resolving doubt, or solving a problem” Nawatiseb said.
He further stated that as much as the name of the Commission speaks of Restitution, it is preposterous at this stage to speak of restitution.
“In this vogue it is important to first establish Ancestral Land Rights where they may exist, and subsequently to define them before thinking of any compensatory mechanism” Nawatiseb shared.
With regard to written submission on ancestral land which ended 21 June, the commission received about 85 written representations with a few groups and individuals who requested extension to make written representations which the commission has granted. The public now has until August 9 to submit their written accounts.