The Ministry of Land Reform yesterday announced it has registered and issued certificates for 78 629 customary land rights out of an estimated 240 000 applicants the ministry has targetted.
The ministry also announced it has registered and issued certificates for 857 leasehold rights. A further 151 008 land rights were mapped and digitised. The announcement was made at a one-day symposium on land tenure bankability themed, “Identification and Harnessing Wider (potential) Benefits for Communal Land Rights Registration in Namibia.” The deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Land Reform, Esther Lusepani, said now that communal land registration is making good progress, the ministry intends to move a step forward by ensuring land tenure bankability for residents of communal land.
“Land tenure bankability can only be attained with the support and cooperation of the financial institutions in the country,” said Lusepani who spoke on behalf of the deputy minister, Bernadus Swartbooi.
“It is through dialogue and the creation of a mutual understanding, as well as through the adjustments of existing processes, and, where required, out-of-the-box thinking, that we can advance the economic development of hundreds of thousands of our fellow Namibians,” said Lusepani. Lusepani says the land question features prominently among the sensitive and complicated issues that Namibia is striving to resolve since independence.
She says circumstances under which land ownership passed from one social group to another, or from community to private individuals, has complicated matters further.
She added that Swapo Party’s election manifesto of 1989 stipulates that the government led by Swapo is “committed to land reform to redress the imbalance created by the colonial policies of land allocation on a racial basis”.
“Today the land in this country is divided into three categories, namely, state land at 20 percent, communal land at 36 percent and freehold commercial areas at 44 percent.”
According to her, these tenure categories evolved mainly from the privatisation of communal land into freehold land during colonial times and from the proclamation of state land as parks for conservation and mining exploration.
Lusepani said that providing the Namibian people with access to land has been and remains one of the priorities of government.
The one-day seminar was attended by financial experts from the Development Bank of Namibia, Agricultural Bank of Namibia, First National Bank, Bank Windhoek, Standard Bank, Bank of Namibia (BoN), Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), Kongalend, National Planning Commission (NPC), Ministry of Land Reform and NamWilika Investment.