Selling traditionally occupied land before compensation is unlawful: Mushelenga

Minister of Urban and Rural Development, PeyaMushelenga has called on the local authorities in the country to refrain from selling land to prospective buyers before compensating the occupants.

Mushelenga made the call during President HageGeingob's Town Hall Meeting held at Ongwediva in the Oshana Region on Monday in his response to the claims that some local authorities are grabbing traditionally-occupied land and sell it to rich people before compensating previous owners.

This is the land found within the boundaries of a local authority. Salom Johannes told the meeting that Ongwediva Town Council, before compensating his family, grabbed their ancestral land and sold it to a local businessman.

He also claimed that the council has also violated the government compensation policy, which requires two free plots to be given to any occupant surrendering his/her ancestral to a local authority for development purposes.

Johannes wanted to know what article in the Namibian Constitution mandates local authorities to sell the land without the consent of its occupant.

Mushelengaemphasised that that there is no law permits a local authority to grab land. Town councils supposed not to sell land to prospective buyers before compensating the occupants, said Mushelenga, adding that he knows of Ongwediva case of land sold to a buyer before the council could compensate the occupants.

He however, told those present that the land belongs to the government and as such, local authorities compensate the occupants only for the improvement made and the fruit trees on the land.

You (occupants) get two plots if you are not vacating from the land and they are not free plots, because their cost is deducted from the compensation amount, Mushelenga narrated.

Source: Namibia Press Agency