OMUTHIYA – The land ministry says it would be difficult to evict a number of farmers subletting portions of a San resettlement farm in the Tsintsabis area of Oshikoto region.
Land reform ministry spokesperson Chrispin Matongela said the farmers have developed and invested heavily on the portions of land.
Farm Oerwould, located some 50km northeast of Tsumeb in the vicinity of Tsintsabis settlement, was bought to resettle San community members and disadvantaged individuals.
The San community then ended up selling portions of land to farmers through their traditional authority.
The government is now considering registering the new farmers occupying some portions of the resettlement farm while the authorities look at tightening loopholes within the system.
Matongela admitted that government, including the regional resettlement committee, has failed to address the issue.
Portions of land, measuring 10 hectares and above, have been reportedly sold for N$10 000 and N$15 000 or more, depending on the size.
All undeveloped land, meant for future expansions and grazing, has been sold out, forcing some farmers to graze their animal along the roadside.
Based on the situation, the land ministry has in the past refused to issue allotment letters, as there are discrepancies as to who is legitimately resettled, depriving potential investors, as they are unable to secure funding.
“These issues dragged for years now; I am well informed that a number of resolutions passed the regional resettlement committee chaired by the former governor Henock Kankoshi, but he refused to sign and endorse. Among the resolutions taken was to evict all individuals who are illegally settled, and an alternative was to institute criminal charges. Therefore, no action is taken due to his [Kankoshi] failure to authorise as head,” said Matongela.
He reiterated when that route failed to materialise, the regional office sought intervention from the attorney general’s office, but no response or action was done to that effect.
“All these are contributing factors to this undesired situation. So, these regional staff have to battle with intimidation from the big wigs who are occupying land, as they feel untouchable,” he added.
Oshikoto governor Penda Ya Ndakolo, who now chairs the regional resettlement committee, said they would launch an investigation in the matter.
“Even today (last week Wednesday), we had our first resettlement meeting, but that issue you are asking was not brought to my attention, but I will organise a meeting so that I can have the full idea as to what transpired before. All I heard also was that there was some recommendation but it was not effected, as meetings to endorse such were being postponed time and again,” said Ya Ndakolo when approached on how to resolve the situation.
Matongela also emphasised no one besides the minister is allowed to allocate land on commercial farms.
Approached for comment, Kankoshi declined to make any statement, saying he is no longer in office and has no authority to speak on the issue.