25 April 2014

Namibia: Call to Amend Land Acquisition Laws

Keetmanshoop — The vice-chairperson of the National Council, Margaret Mensah-Williams, has proposed that the country's land acquisition laws be amended. She says it is unfair that great portions of land in Namibia are still in the hands of white South Africans who demand exorbitant prices from the government in the implementation of the land reform programme.

"Government must investigate how our ancestors lost their land and how much they had before they lost it. Nama-speaking people were deprived of their land from 1904 ... Now we have white South Africans who own land especially in Aussenkehr, Oranjemund and Rosh Pinah. It is time we start legislating ownership of ancestral land and these people will have to shape up or ship out," Mensah-Williams said at the National Council regional sitting in the //Karas Region in Keetmanshoop on Wednesday, which was the first for the region. The first regional assembly took place in Walvis Bay in the Erongo Region in 2011.

Mensah-Williams said government must demand money from Germany to buy back ancestral land from white landowners. She also questioned local authorities being forced to rent buildings from white landowners who own almost the entire town. "And the issue of urban land, most of the urban land in Keetmanshoop, Karasburg and Mariental belong to white Namibians. Government must rent from white landowners. We must close these loopholes that allow for this," she said.

"Land gives you power. Our traditional authorities in the south are always looking like beggars," Mensah-Williams said to great applause, suggesting that traditional leaders are not respected by their subjects because they have no land to offer them.

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