Schlettwein announces communal land for Khomas

Until this week, Khomas had been the only region without communal land.
Jemima Beukes
Agriculture, water and land reform minister Calle Schlettwein yesterday announced the establishment of communal land in the Khomas Region.
Speaking in the National Assembly on Wednesday, he said this move is part of Namibia's ongoing efforts to correct historical injustices and address land inequality stemming from colonial regimes.
“Yes, we have attained our political independence; however, we have a journey to walk together - the journey to correct the unequal distribution of land among our people and communities. We have taken a deliberate policy position to take corrective measures through our land reform programmes as a country. We made it a point to put to an end the disenfranchisement of communities,” he said.
The ministry has acquired two farms for this purpose, measuring a combined 8 132 hectares and valued at N$33 million. The farms are located 140 km northeast of Windhoek on the B6 road.
Schlettwein said the main purpose of establishing communal land in the region is to ensure that residents who do not have land are provided with land and commonage for settlement and grazing purposes.
Persistent calls
He highlighted that up until this week, Khomas was the only region in Namibia without communal land, despite having a substantial number of residents who cannot afford urban living. According to him, this has led to persistent calls from the /Khomanin Traditional Authority and other stakeholders for the establishment of communal land.
"We have listened to [these] voices. Today marks an important milestone in fulfilling our commitment to them."
He added that the /Khomanin traditionally live on farms as generational farmworkers, “while those who are not employed live at the mercy of the land owners”.
“Therefore, after lengthy consultations, the decision was made to establish communal land for this community,” Schlettwein said.
The minister assured that the communal land will be administered according to the Communal Land Reform Act. A communal land board will be established to oversee land allocations, with representatives from various ministries and organisations - including four women with expertise in farming and land management, he said. - Additional reporting by Ellanie Smit