Current Land Bill tries to ensure foreigners and locals partner to unleash the potential of communal areas
The current Land Bill is trying to ensure that foreigners be allowed to partner with local citizens to unleash the potential in the communal areas, in a leasing environment that protects the citizen, investor, and the financier, an official said this week.
The Bill is trying to attract banks to be able to invest in the communal areas, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Carl Schlettwein told the cabinet, where he gave clarity on the ownership of communal land by foreign nationals.
According to Schlettwein, in Namibia’s communal areas, foreign ownership can only be issued to a beneficiary whose property has been demarcated, surveyed, valued, and subsequently registered in instances at the Deeds Office if such a lease is above 10 years and in freehold areas.
“We are puzzled when the government is bringing development to the people and allowing its citizen to find partners or investors and access to finances, [while] some people are blocking it by spreading rumors that are unfounded,” he added.
Schlettwein said up front it is important to state that no one, no foreigner, and no Namibian can own land under a freehold title in communal land.
“However, towns and cities within communal land are demarcated, surveyed, and no longer, after proclamation, form part of communal land. Freehold title and ownership in towns and cities is therefore allowed,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Schlettwein emphasised that it is not and has been never the practice of the government to impose leaseholds and foreign investors upon local communities on communal land.
“Non Namibians are allowed by law to lease land (for investment purposes only) for up to 25 years with an option to renew, further bearing in mind the social responsibility of such an investor to the community,” he said.
In the country currently, it is only native Namibians who enjoy the prestige that comes with the 99 years lease, either to establish a crop field, a shop, or a house in the communal area.