The government should consider repossessing farms from unproductive land reform beneficiaries and redistribute them to land-starved agriculture graduates to boost food security and bolster the economy.
This is one of the resolutions by the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL)’s 7th ordinary congress held over a week ago.
The SPYL has been reluctant to share intricate details regarding key resolutions the ruling party’s Young Turks took.
“Don’t tell me Swapo procedures on reporting. We owe the media nothing. And I must assure you that we will not share the resolutions with you until [they are] approved by congress in November, neither the progress report. We do report to our structures – not to New Era,” was the response by SPYL spokesperson Gerson Dumeni when queried about the watershed congress’ outcome.
According to the SPYL’s central committee (CC) report on its work during the last five years to the congress that was held last week, the wing has recommended that government strengthens support for youth to meet employment quotas in international organisations.
Among the duties conducted included advocating for policies that create dedicated markets for youth entrepreneurs to expand on employment creation.
Sanitary pad donations, visits to medical centres, donations to expectant mothers, support to fire victims, youth debates, condemnations against Namibia Students’ Financial Assistance Fund’s (NSFAF) “abnormal salaries” as well as a demonstration in solidarity with Cuba and Venezuela are some of the achievements highlighted in the report.
According to the CC, they also intervened in the issue of unemployed nurses and successfully convinced them to abandon a planned demonstration.
“In doing so, the CC organised a meeting with Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila to address the issue of unemployed nurses in the country,” read the report, also adding the meeting resolved the issue by informing the ministry of finance to lobby funds to recruit these graduates.
It reported that it also issued a media statement condemning Shoprite for “suing employees for N$94 million”.
It also endeavoured to initiate the unemployment fund in collaboration with the ministry of education and in partnership with the Namibia National Students Organisation.
“Don’t include us in your fights,” was Ephraim Nekongo’s message to the Swapo elders after fighting tooth-and-nail to avoid being challenged for his position.
The youth wing discussed several contemporary issues, including the post-Covid-19 economic recovery, education for sustainable development, sport, arts and culture as well as social welfare.
Equitable healthcare, diplomacy, the forth industrial revolution as well as land, environment and housing also featured dominantly.
“Underutilised resettled farms owned by beneficiaries under the resettlement programme and the green schemes under the ministry of agriculture, water and forestry should be reallocated to agricultural graduates to cultivate and transform the land in smart farming and grow produces that can create employment and contribute to food security,” reads an excerpt from the resolutions.
SPYL, the militant transmitting belt of the ruling party, also wants communal land to be regulated to avoid deforestation.
“The government must expedite land quota allocations under the resettlement programme and ensure the representation of youth on regional resettlement committees,” it further reads.
In addition, the youth league also resolved that the land allocation system must be centralised to “defuse multiple land ownership for them to sell the land off to the highest bidder”.
It is held by some delegates that the congress was mainly overshadowed by the fierce contestation for power between SPYL secretary Nekongo and wannabe contender Willem Amutenya. No serious bread and butter issues were deliberated on.
Meanwhile, their views that the congress was a resounding success that Swapo youth will make their position known on several issues without fear of contradiction.
On the housing front, SPYL wants the provision of affordable serviced land to be fast-tracked.
They also propose that the National Housing Enterprise explores the rent-to-own concept for first-time homeowners.
“The government must intervene in the complex challenge of the unoccupied houses under the mass housing programme in Swakopmund, Windhoek and Opuwo, and expedite the allocation of those houses first-time owners. Prioritise housing quota for youth,” SPYL resolved.
The league also proposed a levy on building material, which will, in turn, be used to service land.
According to the FNB Namibia residential property report for the first quarter of the year, by the end of March 2022, the average house in Namibia cost N$1.2 million.
Back in 2018, a second national indaba on land was held.
It emanated into 169 resolutions.
Not much progress has taken place since then.
According to reports, only 29 resolutions have been implemented since then.
Over the years, the minister responsible for land reform is expected to table a new draft Land Bill in Parliament.
Most resolutions, the public has been told, will form part of the draft legislation.