Ancestral Land Claims Against the Law

The Minister of Lands and Resettlement Alfeus !Naruseb has urged traditional leaders to stop demanding ancestral land, as Namibian laws do not make provision for such claims.

!Naruseb was responding to demands made by Chief Ananias Soroseb of #Arebeb and the Soroseb Traditional Authority during a meeting for the handing over of allotment letters to resettled beneficiaries of the government resettlement farm at Marburg.

Soroseb asked !Naruseb to allocate to his authority farm Okorusu 88, Unit B where Thusnelde Tjiriange is resettled, because according to him their forefather lies buried on the farm.

“Our forefather was buried on that farm and we need to perform rituals year in and year out,” Soroseb aised the lands minister.

!Naruseb said in March 1991 just after independence the government held a land conference and one of the decisions taken was that there would be no “entertainment of ancestral land claims in Namibia”.

“Just imagine the scenario if the Ovambanderu, Ovaherero, Nama and the Ovambo start claiming ancestral land, who will the government listen to?” he asked, adding that laws and policies on land were formulated after the land conference.

“So if everybody starts claiming that my forefather was buried at Daan Viljoen so that I should go and have ritual there, it might have a catastrophic ending,” he cautioned.

“Until such time that you as the people of Namibia guided by the constitution of Namibia will decide to revisit the 1991 land conference resolution pertinent to ancestral land claims, that status quo will remain valid,” he said.

!Naruseb presented allotment letters to selected beneficiaries on farm Marburg. The minister said the issue of ownership and access to land are “pertinent to all Namibians and it is also a constitutional right”.

“Coupled with the right is the issue of secure tenure on the land that is allocated to the community,” he said, adding that he was happy the community was being presented with allotment letters for various allotment units.

He said the selection process was not easy as the farm has a mixture of generational farm workers and other community members.

Beneficiary community members joined later but every effort to include all the beneficiaries was done, !Naruseb informed the community.

The beneficiaries where Ephraim Garab, Frans Oabeb, Toivo Matheus, Obed Tsaeb, Martha Oabes, Christofine Inanses, Hilde Soroses and Esegeil !Nanuseb who were resettled at Farm Marburg No 1, Unit B.

Thusnelde Tjiriange was moved from farm Okorusu No 88 to Farm Marburg number 88,Unit B.

He further reminded the beneficiaries they are responsible for the care and maintenance of the farming units as prescribed by the lease agreement in the resettlement programme.

“Failure to comply with any of the provisions can result in the cancellation of the lease,” he said, adding that upon cancellation of the lease the right to occupy the farm and all improvements thereon shall vest in the state subject to the payment of compensation for all improvements affected on the property after occupation.

He commended the community of farm Marburg for the manner in which they conducted themselves while the ministry was finalising the administrative changes pertaining to the farm, thanking Tjiriange for accepting the relocation to pave the way for generational farm workers.

Source : New Era