Mariental — The Land Reform Ministry last week kicked off the first round of one-day consultative meetings with regional stakeholders to review the draft National Resettlement Policy in Mariental.
The meeting, which was attended by the governor of Hardap Region, regional councillors, the regional resettlement committee members, as well as traditional authorities and settled farmers, was hosted with the main objective of ensuring that stakeholders can give their inputs on the draft policy before it is finalised.
Peter Amutenya, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Land Reform, said by hosting these meetings the ministry hopes to include all Namibians in the development of the relevant policy.
"We can only produce the second draft once we have consulted all 14 regions, this is the first of the regional processes we have embarked on to ensure that all our stakeholders at grassroots level and the entire Namibia are consulted," he said.
He further said during the workshops the stakeholders will look at the current resettlement processes, as well as come up with new resettlement models. "We will also discuss the scoring criterion, which is being used to evaluate the applications for resettlement purposes," he added.
The National Resettlement Policy is a document developed in 2001 and, according to Amutenya, the ministry has faced a lot of challenges in the implementation of the policy, some of which it has managed to overcome.
Speaking during her keynote address at the opening of the meeting, Hardap Governor Esme Isaack said it was an open secret that land is a sensitive issue and also one that cannot be wished away by way of wait-and-see tactics.
She further called on the participants of the meeting to handle the issue with utmost maturity and composure. "We all need land, but I must accentuate the paramount importance of the rule of law in all our endeavours when it comes to land-related issues," she stressed.
The ministry hopes to have the policy reviewed in time for the second National Conference on Land Reform slated for September.
* Lorato Khobetsi is an information officer for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Hardap region.