The NANGOF Working Group on Land Reform issued the following statement today:


The NANGOF Working Group on Land Reform has noted with concern that the Minister of Land Reform, Hon. Uutoni Nujoma, tabled the Land Bill [B.19-2016] in the National Assembly on 9 November 2016, without consultation with interest groups, stakeholders and the broader electorate and citizenry who will be directly affected by the content of the bill.

NANGOF questions the principle of tabling the Land Bill and considers it premature, particularly in light of the fact that the Minister announced as recent as 24 August 2016 its intention to hold a 2nd National Land Conference on a date still to be determined.

The NANGOF Working Group on Land Reform represents a broad spectrum of stakeholders including amongst others the National Youth Council, Council of Churches, Legal Assistance Centre, Namibia Development Trust, Namibia National Farmers’ Union, Namibia Farmworkers Union, the Landless People’s Movement //Naosan /Aes.

NANGOF is of the opinion that any future legislation related to land reform must be put on hold until after the 2nd National Land Conference and should be based on a participatory consultation process, particularly in light of the historical political, economic and emotional sensitivity and context of colonial land dispossession the land question.

NANGOF also strongly believes that the land question is inextricably linked to the German colonial extermination order against the Ovaherero and the Nama, and that any future discussions on the land question and land reform must be included in genocide negotiations and future land reform programs. In light of the fact that genocide negotiations are currently taking place on various fronts, NANGOF believes that the tabling of a Land Bill at this point would pre-empt the outcome of both the genocide talks and the 2nd National Land Conference.

The 24 resolutions taken at the 1st National Land Conference in 1991 formed the basis of subsequent post-independence land policy, legislation and land reform programs. It is now almost 25 years after the 1st National Land Conference and after repeated calls by the NANGOF Working Group on Land Reform, that the Minister has finally called a 2nd National Land Conference. NANGOF takes this opportunity to welcome the Minister’s announcement.

However, it comes as a surprise that the Minister should introduce a Land Bill before the people affected by the land question are able to debate progress made and challenges encountered since post-independence land related legislation was implemented. NANGOF strongly feels that the 2nd National Land Conference is the ideal platform where government, civil society and all relevant stakeholders should take stock of the post- independence land reform process and form the basis of future land reform.

The first of many consultations planned by Namibian Non-Governmental Organisation Forum (NANGOF) Land Reform Working Group to consult communities in the selected regions of the country on the land issue was concluded in Hardap and //Kharas Regions in November 2016. Before the end of 2016, Khomas and Omaheke will be visited by the working group. The outcomes of these consultations include issues related to Communal Land Support, the legal expropriation of foreign owned and unutilised land, the composition and functions of the Land Reform Commission, the National Land Resettlement Program and the decentralisation thereof, the introduction of ancestral land claims, as well as foreign ownership of land amongst others.

The Hardap and //Kharas consultations form the first in a series of regional meetings to held with communities in the regions of /Khomas, Omaheke, Erongo, Otjozondjupa and Kunene and Oshikoto. NANGOF believes that the issues arising from the first round of consultations already hint at the explosive and sensitive nature of the land reform process.

Whilst the NANGOF land reform regional consultations have not been concluded as yet, NANGOF believes that the issues raised must be further dissected and debated during the 2nd National Land Conference. It is therefore considered that the tabling of a Land Bill prior to broader discussions is inappropriate and puts the cart before the horse.

The NANGOF Working Group on Land Reform has commenced its lobby and advocacy efforts to stop the current parliamentary debate on the Land Bill. In this regard, the Working Group held fruitful discussions with the Chief Whip of the SWAPO Party, the leader and President of the official opposition party the DTA of Namibia, as well as individual Members of Parliament. NANGOF will continue in the coming months to intensify its lobby activities and calls upon all parliamentarians to support the calls for the withdrawn of the bill until intensive broad based stakeholder consultation has taken place, and until the 2nd National Land Conference is held.

NANGOF calls on all citizenry and the electorate to join its call for the withdrawal of the Land Bill with immediate effect until the 2nd National Land Conference has pronounced itself on the state of land reform and on future land policies.

Uhuru Dempers – Convener of NANGOF Working Group on Land Reform – 0812525095

Sima Luipert – Lead Facilitator of regional consultations – 0817230454