The Namibian Minister of Land Affairs, Alpheus Naruseb, has called for speedier land reform. said recently that the pace at which land is acquired to resettle people is too slow and a change in law should be considered to focus on the resettlement of previously disadvantaged people.
He called on the Land Reform Advisory Council to give special preference to evicted farmworkers, people on resettlement farms who want to expand operations and farmers in crowded communal areas. he Namibian land reform project has been criticised for lacking an organised approach, resulting in judges throwing expropriation cases out of court and huge under-utilisation of land on resettlement farms. According to the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), since independence in 1990, some 1 000 farms have changed hands, about 16% of the total.
About 3 500 white farmers utilise half the available agricultural land. lthough some R50 million a year has been set aside in the national budget to acquire land, the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle has so far not brought desired results. government maintains 200 000 Namibians are waiting for resettlement (about 10% of the population). GOs and other stakeholders raised doubt about this figure saying it overestimates the number of people willing and able to farm. With an election year looming, the land issue is bound elicit attention from politicians and voters. The power base of the ruling Swapo party is concentrated in the heavily populated communal areas in the north of the country. – Servaas van den Bosch