Land grabbing ‘legal offence’
More and more cases of land grabbing are popping up in the media. Even the Minister of Defence and the head of our police were named amongst those who broke the law in this regard. Many more cases are well known in this country, the most shocking is the case of the [Minister of Trade Tjekero] Tweya.
However, government obviously did nothing to stop this and that makes the grabbing of land in the eyes of many, a ‘legal offence’. Fencing in – or off – communal land is punishable but no one got punished so far. Land grabbing is tolerated by the authorities, some argue and say, “let’s join the grabbers before all the communal land is gone.”
How long will it take before the grabbers are the majority in cabinet and parliament, we ask!
Land redistribution (land reform) is a complete mess in Namibia. Its overall true results are dismal and therefore carefully hidden by government. Land redistribution should be investigated by a body independent from government and the results should be made public. Land is the one resource one will not wish to play games of any sort with.
Agricultural land belongs in the hands of an active farmer alone and urban land for the purposes of housing, belongs to those who are in need of proper shelter. No politician, no speculator/middleman, no town council and no one who is not using the finite resource (land) wisely, productively and in a sustainable way may lay his hands on land. This includes our Ministry of Land too. The towns have to recover the cost to develop the erven, yes, but making excessive profits should be forbidden by law – the profits will come via the municipal taxes! It is the profits and intermediaries that make erven so expensive that desperate people are getting mad now.
Land grabbing in all its different forms sends out the wrong signals altogether. It is absolutely wrong that so many ‘grabbers’ crowd parliament; it is wrong that persons suspected of pilfering common assets may sit there telling us about ethics, about what is right or wrong. That all this seems tolerated by our Executive, President, and ultimately by the ruling party, will create something so nasty few would like to see coming!
Ekaterina (Uhuru) Beukes