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Illegal buying and selling of communal land

By Lidwina N.Shapwa, Permanent Secretary
The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement hereby wish to advise the public to refrain from selling or buying communal land. Selling or buying of communal land is an illegal practice which often leads to land disputes since the land right being sold is not "owned" by the person who is trying to sell it.

According to the Communal Land Reform Act No. 5 of 2002, "all communal land belongs to the state in trust for the benefit of the communities residing in those areas and for purpose of promoting the economic and social development all people living in these communities "(Section 17 sub section 1 and 2)". No part of any communal land is allowed to be bought or sold by any person.

The only way to get a piece of communal land rights is through official application or transfer procedures. All communal land rights applications and transfers are considered legal only when approved by a respective Traditional Authority and validated by a Communal Land Board of a given region. Traditional Authorities are empowered by the relevant Act to allocate Customary Land Rights, which are rights for subsistence farming and/or residential purposes, while Communal Land Boards are empowered to allocate Rights of Leasehold in communal areas.

It is therefore important to note that all those buying or selling communal land are doing it outside the confines of the Namibian laws. Therefore, the Ministry of Lands and Resettlements cannot entertain any claims to communal land rights obtained through illegal allocations.

His Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba is quoted by saying "I regret to state that some traditional leaders have become part of the problem" and "...

it has been realized that some traditional leaders are under a mistaken view that they own communal land. I must state that this is a mistaken impression." - The Namibian Daily Newspaper(16/11/2011)

The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement is fully aware of the land shortages within traditional communities and is therefore, implementing policies that would ensure equitable distribution of communal land through the appropriate procedures.

The Ministry therefore, takes this opportunity to invite and urge everyone living in the communal area to apply and register their communal land rights through normal procedures without delay. Application forms are readily available at any nearest office of the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement as well as at the offices of recognized Traditional Authorities.

Namibia: "Our land... Our Heritage... Our Pride"- Conserve it!





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