Another Southern African Head of State is calling for land expropriation with fair compensation to speed up transformation of the economic and agricultural sector.
Reuters reports Namibian President Hage Geingob – during independence day celebrations – said government is considering “radical land expropriation”.
Geingob said government should recall the section in the Constitution which allows for land expropriation to speed up the redistribution process.
He said the nation should be open to new approaches, if they are committed to economic growth and maintaining peace.
“This means we need to refer back to our Constitution which allows for the expropriation of land with fair compensation and also look at foreign land ownership of land, especially absentee land owners,” he said.
According to local newspaper The Namibian, the president said government welcomes all proposals from Namibians regarding the land issue, to ensure national consensus is reached before new measures are put in place to address the land issue.
Namibia set a target to transfer 43% or 15 million hectares of its arable agricultural land to previously disadvantages black people by 2020. According to the Namibia Agricultural Union, only 27% of land was redistributed by the end of 2015.
According to Reuters, South African president Jacob Zuma also called for amendments to that country’s constitution earlier this year, to steer away from the willing-buyer-willing-seller. This was done in a bid to speed up the alleged slow pace of land reform.
Both leaders are calling for the transfer of agricultural land still largely in the hands of the white minority, to the previously disadvantaged black population.
South Africa’s former system of apartheid is cited as one of the main reasons for skewed ownership. Under this system black farmers were banned from owning land. The system was abolished in 1990, while Namibia was still under South African governance. The country gained independence after that.
According to Bloomberg, the current land reform policy in Zimbabwe – where land was seized from 4 500 white commercial farmers – led to the collapse of the Zimbabwe agrarian economy, once a main producer in the region. Currently large parts of the countries’ arable land are in ruins due to a lack of assistance to black farmers.