Staff Reporter Windhoek A team of Namibian and international land rights experts has developed a comprehensive strategy for land reform and offered advice on the legislative process. Based on this, appropriate legal and political frameworks have been established for land registration in communal areas and for equitable access to commercial land. As a result, 160,000 plots of land have already been surveyed and 88,000 land use rights registered in communal areas. Communal land boards established by the government work with traditional hierarchies, such as chieftaincies, to arbitrate land disputes. Women and marginalised groups, such as people living with HIV/AIDS, have benefited in particular from improved legal rights and guarantees of access to land. In commercial areas, around nine million hectares of land had been peacefully distributed to landless and previously disadvantaged persons by 2016. The Namibian government is therefore more than halfway to achieving its goal of redistributing a total of 15 million hectares of land by 2020. All in all, more than 25 percent of commercial farmland has so far changed ownership. In addition, up to five million hectares of land in communal areas is to be farmed by newly created commercial farming enterprises. In a mentoring programme, experienced commercial farmers have passed on their knowledge to 3,000 new farmers on commercial land, as well as 1,600 communal farmers, who can now gradually improve their productivity. Eight integrated regional land use plans have been developed for the Karas, Hardap, Kavango East and West, and Zambezi regions. The Ministry of Land Reform is currently finalising similar plans for the regions of Otjozondjupa and Omaheke. These plans have triggered a wide-ranging dialogue between citizens and the government, inspiring greater cooperation, which is helping to minimise future land use conflicts. The legal and planning basis for the issuing of land rights in urban and peri-urban areas is currently being established. The project is supporting municipalities in the integration of informal settlements into urban plans, and in planning basic infrastructure for them.
2017-10-24 09:38:05 11 months ago