Namibia joins the pledge for land reform

01 October 2018 - 16:00 By Reuters
An aerial view of Windhoek hills in Namibia.
An aerial view of Windhoek hills in Namibia.
Image: Sergey Mitrofanov/123rf

Namibia's president Hage Geingob called on Monday for a change to the constitution to allow the government to expropriate land and redistribute it to the majority black population.

"The willing-buyer willing-seller principle has not delivered results. Careful consideration should be given to expropriation," Geingob said at the opening of the Second National Land Conference in the capital Windhoek.

The country wants to transfer 43 percent, or 15m hectares of its arable agricultural land, to previously disadvantaged blacks by 2020. At the end of 2015, 27 percent has been redistributed, according to the Namibia Agriculture Union.

We should all be cognisant of the fact that this is ultimately an investment in peace
Namibian president Hage Geingob

"We need to revisit constitutional provisions which allow for the expropriation of land with just compensation, as opposed to fair compensation, and look at foreign ownership of land, especially absentee land owners," Geingob said.

"It is in all our interest, particularly the "haves", to ensure a drastic reduction in inequality, by supporting the redistributive model required to alter our skewed economic structure. We should all be cognisant of the fact that this is ultimately an investment in peace," he said.

As in South Africa, thousands of black Namibians were driven off their land in the 19th and 20th centuries, banished to barren and often crowded homelands known as Bantustans while being denied official ownership or tenure rights.

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