Customary Land Rights Customary Land Rights

Introduction
Section 22 of the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002 stipulates that any person who wishes to use communal land for subsistence farming or residential (customary land use) ought to apply in the prescribed manner to the concerned Traditional Authority. This article therefore explains the procedures that ought to be followed in the application of a customary land right on communal land.

Step 1
Identification of the land

The applicants identify the land either for residential or farming purpose. He/she consults the Traditional Authority and nearby people on the status of the land identified.

Step 2
Completion of an application form

The applicant applies for the land by filling in the form prescribed application form (From 1). The applicant submits the completed application form to the Chief Traditional Authority (TA) in whose area the land is situated for consideration. The application must be accompanied by all information required for consideration including a non-refundable application fee of N$ 25.00.

Step 3
Consideration of the application by the Traditional Authority


In considering the application the TA will:

  • Check the size, location and current use of the land.
  • Consult people regarding the application.
  • Display particulars of the application on a notice board for about 7 days. This is done to invite community members who may have objections to the application.
  • May hold a hearing in case community member(S) objects to the application. At the hearing, both the applicant and the objector(s) will be invited.

Step 4
Granting or refusal of the application

Once the Traditional Authority has exhausted step 3, they may approve (allocate) or disapprove (refuse) the application. In case of refusal, the applicant ought to be informed on the reasons why the application was refused and advised accordingly.

Step 5
Communicating the allocation to the Land Board

The allocation of a customary land right by the TA is NOT legally valid unless ratified (cross checked) by a Land Board in the area in which the allocated land is situated.
The TA who allocated the land MUST provide to the concerned Land Board the following information for ratification purposes:

  • Type of right allocated
  • Locality of the portion of land allocated in square metre or hectares
  • Size of land allocated in square metres or hectares
  • Other portions of land the applicant has, including the sizes, locality and uses of such land.
  • Any other information the TA may wish to submit

The above information must be submitted to the secretary of the board.

Step 6
Ratification of the allocation by the land board

Once the secretary receives the information on the allocation, the information must be checked to ensure that all required information is submitted before the Land Board has the power to:

  • Ratify (confirm) the allocation if the allocation was done properly.
  • Refer the allocation back to the TA with comments for consideration.
  • Refuse the allocation, in case where double allocation prevails, size exceeds the 20ha and where the land is earmarked/used for other developments. These reasons for refusal must be communicated to both the applicant and the Traditional Authority.
     

Step 7
Registration of allocated land

Once the Land board has ratified the allocation, all information pertaining to the allocation must be entered into the register. The applicant is then issued with a certificate of registration. The register is kept and controlled by the Land Board.