I see top bosses and incredibly expensive ‘consultants’ being selected for senior positions or jobs who may have paper qualifications (?) and suitable personal qualities (??) being placed in positions of authority despite their evident crap track records. This all by Board leaders who previous oversaw the previous disasters! What a joke! They would never get jobs in the private sector for sure!
Even worse these creeps and their favourites flash their ostentatious wealth and their arrogant office blocks with exposed gymnasia, excessive million-dollar office furniture and private toilets as they screw up the basics of the original Swapo policy of discreet wealth and modest government. Yes, in a country with massive unemployment, increasing poverty and maternal / child statistics to cry about, our government spends more than N$20 000 for every man, woman and child in the country. And yes, N$15 000 or more is spent by the government on themselves!
We look at the most intractable problem at the moment, that of land, both rural and urban (later). Worldwide IRBs’ wealth ultimately is based upon land ownership and maintaining its increasing value. The Duke of Westminster owns huge chunks of London, Trump huge chunks of Atlanta and New York and our papers give us a clue as to our rising moguls! As all this goes on and more and more drift into cities, land deals continue to push the less rich out and make the IRBs richer! Poverty increases, public servants demand more cash to survive and the housing shortage escalates the misery. The basic engine of financial slavery. The rich get richer and the poor poorer until ....
As with all societies the IRBs, having their luxury mansions, million-dollar cars and Breitling watches set up their retreats in the urban areas and buy farms! I recall my brief attendance at the Land Conference in 1991 and still have the original report. I then look at the admirable work done by our Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) in collecting data on the ownership of commercial farms with reference to our land policy. Despite their obvious concern over accuracy there is enough meat in the data to make broad conclusions.
Yes, our land policy is working! Previously disadvantaged (PDs) Namibians and GRN now own 25% of commercial farms (by area), 9,5 million hectares essentially since 2005, 12 years. Of this about 20% (2m ha) is being used to resettle some 80 000 poor Namibians (and not so poor!), about 10% (1m ha) belongs to GRN and the balance, nearly 70% belongs to private ownership by PDs (6.5m ha). This is an incredible success and shows that, for the majority of sales, the willing seller, willing buyer principle is working well, despite contrary ministerial comment.
How do we capitalise on this? It is quite obvious that the reallocation of land by sale works as nearly N$5bn has been spent by private individuals and it is equally evident that the resettlement programme is fraught with difficulties of lack of skills, infrastructure and motivation; several reports indicate this and that the allocated land is often illegally sub-let to prosperous farmers at sub-sensible rates! Good farmers (and managers), with a bit of meteorological luck, on average make money. So ...
GRN’s target of 15M ha to PDs is attainable but resettlement needs a rethink. Perhaps tax should be based on ROI? A current tax of N$2 / ha / pa needs a rethink (N$80m / 40m ha). Land must be used productively.
Then to the urban problem!