'It's true that whites stole our land, but they're also Namibians,' says President Geingob

2018-08-27 06:32
Hage Geingob (File: AFP)

Hage Geingob (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Namibia's President Hage Geingob on Sunday urged citizens to take part in the debate over mooted land reforms, including the expropriation of land, in order to avoid chaos.

The southern African country will hold a "national land conference" from October 1-5, for discussion of policies that will accelerate the land reform programme.

"I believe that we should have difficult conversations, as Namibians, with the aim of finding peaceful and sustainable solutions to the challenges of inequality, landlessness and outstanding pains of genocide," Geingob said during Sunday's heroes day commemorations in northern Namibia.

According to Geingob, the October conference will examine a policy of voluntary redistribution of land but also compensated expropriation by the government.

"If we don't correct the wrongs of the past through appropriate policies and actions, our peace will not be sustainable," the president warned.

The debate comes as neighbouring South Africa is considering plans to allow for expropriating farms without compensating the owners, largely the white minority which possess 72% of farms.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

But there is also vigorous debate in South Africa about how land redistribution would work - and whether seizures could be economically damaging as they were in post-independence Zimbabwe.

Namibia was a German colony from 1884 to 1915. Apartheid South Africa then took over and ruled the country until 1990 when it gained its independence.

The government started the land reform programme in 1990 but opted to use the willing buyer-willing seller system to buy land, at market prices, from private farm owners who owned the land before independence.

The Namibian president has over the years admitted that approach has failed and so is now urging discussions on land grabs.

Geingob, who was the country's first prime minister, was one of the drafters of the Namibian constitution which protected property rights of people who owned land prior to independence.

He is however facing increasing pressure to return ancestral lands to the rightful owners.

Geingob called for calm and insisted that white people who own farms are also Namibians.

"It is true that they came and stole the land 100 years ago, but a white boy who was born on that land has Namibian blood," Geingob said.

The government announced in parliament two years ago that German citizens own 141 out of 281 farms which belong to foreign nationals. Over 108 farms measuring more than 450 000 hectares are owned by South Africans.

Read more on:    hage geingob  |  namibia  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.