Namibia: Ancestral Land Commission's Briefing Was Not About Erindi - Hengari

Windhoek — Press secretary in the presidency Alfredo Hengari has reacted to a New Era headline that he says may suggest to readers that Monday's visit to State House by the Presidential Commission on Ancestral Land Rights and Restitution was exclusively to brief President Hage Geingob about the public's views on Erindi.

The commission on Monday briefed President Geingob on a variety of issues it gathered information on during the course of its work - including the people's views on the looming sale of Erindi.

President Geingob believes the sale of Erindi - to Mexican billionaire Alberto Baillères - would prove to be a great investment for Namibia.

However, some sections of society, notably opposition parties and pressure groups, have denounced the plan to sell the prime property - currently owned by South African investors - to another foreign person.

Relaying the message from its public consultations, the ancestral land commission told Geingob that some communities have called for the sale to be put on hold pending the outcome of the commission's work.

Hengari says New Era's headline, "Ancestral Land Commission debriefs Geingob on Erindi", may have given the public a different understanding regarding Monday's briefing.

"In the 10 points briefing note of the commission, the question of Erindi emerges only once, which is a clear indication that the courtesy call was not about Erindi as the headline seeks to suggest," Hengari said.

Hengari said the commission's courtesy call on Geingob was with the objective of providing an update about its activities since its appointment in February.

"The Commission informed that it had met to date over 500 different people across the country, all of whom expressed gratitude to both the President and government for setting up the commission," he said.

According to Hengari, the commission told Geingob that it had received undertakings of participation from actors that boycotted last year's second national land conference such as the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, Nama Traditional Leaders Association, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), Affirmative Repositioning (AR) and National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo).

"As the basis of citizen trust in governance, the Presidency wishes to underline its commitment to accountability and transparency in its interaction with all actors of Namibian society," said the presidency spokesperson.

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