PRESIDENT Hage Geingob hosted Mexican billionaire, Alberto Baillères the man intent on buying Namibia’s largest private game reserve, during a courtesy call to State House earlier on Wednesday.
Welcoming Baillères at Statehouse, Dr. Geingob said that systems of governance should protect investors, adding that in the potential sale of Erindi to Baillères a waiver for Erindi to be purchased by potential foreign investors was already given in the past as it was classified as an area not suitable for resettlement.
“This game reserve is already owned by foreigners from South Africa. Government tried to buy Erindi, however we couldn’t buy it, we realized that a waiver was already signed, Baillères is not here to make money but rather to determine how the bio diversity of Erindi can be conserve red.” Geingob said.
Inquired whether or not some members of public which may claim that Erindi Private game reserve is their ancestral land through the currently ongoing inquest on ancestral land claims nationwide, Dr. Geingob asked how the sale of Erindi would influence the ongoing inquiry into ancestral land claims nationwide which was instituted from Resolutions from the Land Conference, and whether or not public
“Would you come and claim Windhoek? Who can claim Windhoek? The first claimers would be San people. The whole of Windhoek is ancestral land,” Geingob said.
He added that currently there is no law that prohibits the sale of land to foreigners adding that property which is legally owned already, cannot be touched according the constitution.
The President further extended an invitation to the Mexican billionaire, to join Namibia’s investment conference, which will encourage flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the country.
Currently close to 400 employees will benefit from the deal as well as communities close to the prvate game reserve.
Commenting on the deal, Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein, who was also present at the occasion stated that Namibia is known to be a law abiding country with sophisticated economy as well as its large scale conservation of biodiversity.
He added that should the Competition Commission approve this deal, it would be a big investment for the services sector, which he adds that government would like to diversify.
Baillères in a press statement stated that his intention is to preserve Erindi for future generations and ensure that it continues to provide a sanctuary and safe environment for rare and valuable species such as elephant, black rhino, white rhino, wild dogs, cheetah, leopard and lion, that are unique and an essential part of African culture and heritage.
The Erindi transaction is currently awaiting regulatory approval by the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC). This is a standard process where sizeable acquisitions are concerned.
Also present at the meeting was Minister of Land Reform, Utoni Nujoma, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Martin Andjaba and the Attorney General, Dr. Albert Kawana