Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro GOBABIS – The government must recognise people south of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF) who have been misplaced and must investigate various options to acquire land to ensure those in need of land get land. Further, the issue of ancestral land is serious but in the past it did not receive much attention hence the need to address this issue at the forthcoming Second National Land Conference. These are some of the views informing various recommendations from the commercial working groups during the lands consultations in Omaheke Region, which took place last Thursday and Friday of which the recommendations are being finalised. Communal areas were pointed out to be overcrowded while commercial land is said to be of no use given the persistence droughts which the country has been experiencing. Thus the need to also consider both communal and commercial areas with regard to the resettlement programme that itself was characterised as catastrophic. Agricultural development must also be part of the issues to be discussed at the land conference while access to land must be interrogated what it means, and that the land in question that must be accessed also needs to be defined. Displacement from land is not only taking place on commercial land, or it not done by white farmers only against black farm workers but emerging black commercial farmers are also meting out the same treatment to fellow black farm workers. It has been pointed out that the issue of ancestral land cannot be resolved through the resettlement programme but due regard must be given to the land that was taken away from the people without them being compensated for it. It was suggested that the government must rather look at those who have farms, especially those with more than one farm but are reluctant to forfeit them. Issue was also taken of the rationale of buying farms from the current owners who in the first place may not have bought them. When considering acquiring privately owned commercial land due consideration must be given to those with access to land or more than one farm. With the acquisition of commercial land, especially that adjacent to communal areas, preference must be given to such communal areas by extending such areas into these commercial lands thereby relieving overcrowding in communal areas. Resettlement cannot be a solution to the land problem as long as those who have been resettled do not have title deeds, while it was suggested that communal areas also be demarcated into commercial units with title deeds. Albeit this cannot and should not be the end to the land question because even if the current communal land should be demarcated into commercial units this cannot solve the problem of the scarcity of land. Thus more commercial land should be forfeited to the state. A need was identified to protect communal areas from overcrowding and overgrazing while the commercialisation of communal land was even questioned as a practical option and even as a partial solution of the land question. “How can an area with no grass, overcrowded, and cattle roaming freely be commercialised,’’ a participant in the commercial working group wanted to know. Another participant in this group pointed out to the need for a proper definition of ancestral land and that such land be surveyed and once this has been done preference be given to the affected communities in terms of land re-allocation, meaning those displaced from their lands historically.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-31 08:56:01 8 months ago