Major Services Rendered by the Directorate of Resettlement
1. Allocation of Resettlement Farms (Resettlement Process)
Resettlement takes place in terms of the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act, Act No.6 of 1995 and Resettlement Policy of 2001. The allocation of resettlement farms from the date of acquisition (transfer date) takes about five (5) months to complete. The process is as follows:
1.1. Demarcation of acquired farms (approval of allotment plans):
The Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act requires that farms be demarcated into farming units. The demarcations are however carried out at the time of farm assessment before the farm is acquired. Once the farm is acquired and transferred, the demarcation plans are submitted to the Minister for approval. The process takes a minimum of two (2) weeks to be completed.
1.2. Government Notice
In terms of Section 39 of the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act, Act No. 6 of 1995, the Minister of Land Reform must make known that copies of the approved allotment plans are available for public inspection at the places and during the periods indicated in the schedule. As such, the Ministry prepares a Government Notice which must be scrutinized by the Ministry of Justice (Legal Drafters) before it is approved / signed by the Minister responsible for land reform for gazetting by the Ministry of Justice. Gazetting of notices with the Ministry of Justice only takes place two (2) times in a month. The process takes a minimum of four (4) weeks to be completed.
1.3. Advertisement of Farms
From the date of Government Notice, farming units are advertised in three (3) newspapers for the period of one (1) month, i.e. four (4) weeks.
1.4. Selection of Beneficiaries:
The Land Reform Advisory Commission (LRAC) is established and sits once every month to nominate candidates and recommends to the Minister for allocation, among many other issues. The Commission is assisted by Regional Resettlement Committees (RRCs) which are established in all the thirteen (13) Regions. RRCs sit within two (2) weeks after the closing date of the adverts. The process takes a minimum of six (6) weeks to be completed.
1.5. Allotment Letters and Physical Allocation:
The Ministry undertakes secretarial activities of preparing the LRAC minutes and allotment letters which takes two (2) weeks after the LRAC meeting. Original allocation letters are forwarded to regional offices for physical allocation of the beneficiaries. Normally beneficiaries of one (1) farm are given the same dates of physical allocation to ensure that they are shown their boundaries and water points at the same time. The process takes a minimum of four (4) weeks to be completed.
2. Resettlement Rental Fees and Lease Agreements
The Ministry of Land Reform implements a comprehensive Resettlement Programme, whereby agricultural land is distributed on a lease basis to selected beneficiaries. The land is rented for a 99 year duration period. Beneficiaries have to sign an agreement of Lease and are obliged to pay after an initial grace period has expired, an annual rental fee for the lease.
The legal framework is well in place, but the administrative systems for the collection of rental fees still need to be developed. The main legal instruments that are employed in the collection of rentals are the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act, Act No 6 of 1995 and the Land Valuation and Taxation Regulations of 2001. The Directorate of Resettlement, the Regional Offices and the Directorate of Valuation and Estate Management play a reinforcing and crucial role in the administration of freehold land that has now been resettled. The Division of Resettlement is the intended beneficiary of rental fees and the Directorate of Valuation and Estate Management is responsible for the valuation of government properties.
Objectives of resettlement rental fees are as follows:
- Encourage the efficient utilization of commercial agricultural land,
- Raise revenue for the Land Acquisition and Development Fund (LADF) to facilitate and accelerate the process of land acquisition, distribution and development.
In general, rental fees on leased land can be placed in the category of taxation of land, which has been advocated on both efficiency and equity grounds.
3. Post Settlement Support
3.1. Rehabilitation of Water Infrastructure
The Ministry of Land Reform is currently implementing a major Water Infrastructure development / Rehabilitation Programme on resettlement farms. Currently the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is providing assistance to the Ministry of Land Reform with the tendering process and monitoring of actual work done by Contractors.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry expect farmers in communal and commercial areas to contribute towards the rehabilitation of their water infrastructure. However, the Ministry of Land Reform has a duty to ensure that the water infrastructure on resettlement farms is functional prior to conclusion of lease agreements. Thereafter, beneficiaries are expected to maintain infrastructure at their own costs.
The Ministry is determined to carry out this challenging and complex exercise as conveniently as possible in order to ensure productivity on resettlement farms and projects. However, the Ministry appeals to the beneficiaries with the means at their disposal to maintain and upgrade their water infrastructure at own cost in order to meet Government halfway.
3.2. Post Settlement Financing Support Programme
The resettlement programme is implemented in line with Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act and National Resettlement Policy. The Government categorizes settlers into three (3) groups. These are:
- People who have neither land, income nor livestock.
- People who have neither land nor income, but a few livestock.
- People who have no land, but have an income or are livestock owners, but need land to be resettled on with their families and to graze their livestock.
The Government of the Republic of Namibia through the Ministry of Land Reform has established a Resettlement Programme with the aim:
- To enhance the welfare of the people through improvement of productivity.
- To develop destination areas where they are supposed to earn a decent living.
To answer to this and for the beneficiaries to be able to manage and productively utilize their Farming Units upon allocation, the Ministry in conjunction with other stakeholders has established a Post Settlement Support Programme (PSSR). One of the components of a Programme is to provide a soft loan to the resettled beneficiaries. The Ministry of Land Reform entered into an Agreement in a form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Agribank regarding post settlement support to resettled farmers that led to the establishment of the Post Settlement Support Fund. The two institutions commit to contribute to the fund annually. Agribank administers the funds as well as disburse these funds to the designated categories of persons as mentioned above.
There is a committee established known as Joint Technical Committee (JTC) with members from MLR, Agribank, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, and a representative of emerging farmers associations. The committee is responsible amongst others to evaluate and recommend for approval of loan applications by Agribank which would use its own discretion to grant such loans. Agribank will only consider loan applications from resettlement beneficiaries who have valid allotment letters and valid lease agreements with the Ministry.
3.3. Farmers (Training) Support Programme
The Ministry of Land Reform has, since independence in 1990 been organizing training programmes for beneficiaries on resettlement farms and projects.
A Farmers Support Project (FSP) started in May 2007 which focuses on previously disadvantaged farmers and resettled farmers on commercial farmlands (Emerging Commercial Farmers Support Programme). This project was financially supported by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Joint Presidency Commission (JPC) of the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) and the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU). The objectives and activities of the programme are as follows:
- Conduct pre-settlement orientation courses
- Conduct topic related short agricultural courses
- Conduct farmers and information days
- Conduct agricultural excursions
- Implement mentoring programmes
Since September 2009, the German Government continued to support the initiative. The FSP is now a Project of the Ministry of Land Reform implemented by AgriBank of Namibia, in partnership with the three (3) farmers unions in the Country.
4. Resolution of Disputes
As the custodian of state land in Namibia, the Ministry is responsible for the resolution of disputes on resettlement farms. Regional Resettlement Committees, Land Reform Advisory Commission and the Lands Tribunal may also be involved in the resolution of disputes. The most common disputes are as follows:
- Boundary disputes: In most cases demarcation plans prepared by Land Use Planners are not accurate and may differ with survey diagrams once the unit is surveyed. This causes disputes between beneficiaries of the two or more farming units.
- Illegal settlers: Before independence, resettlement farms were administered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. The farms were transferred to the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement after independence for management and administration. People who were living on the farms without allotment letters issued to them were also transferred together with the farms. This caused more disputes as other people who were not beneficiaries of the farms also moved in illegally.
- Sub-leasing of resettlement farms: The Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act prohibits subleasing of resettlement farms. Permission is required from the Minister, on recommendation of the LRAC, for sub-leasing (valid reasons required). No animal of any description which is not the property of the Lessee may be allowed to graze on the property without the consent of the Lessor
5. Group Resettlement Projects