The government has bought four farms, costing N$54 million, for 949 Batswana of Namibian descent who have voluntarily registered to be relocated to Namibia.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Jona Musheko, has confirmed a preliminary report on the progress of the resolutions of the second land conference, which was released last week.
The conference in 2018 concluded that the government must identify alternative land in communal and commercial areas for the resettlement of communities to be repatriated.
“About 949 Batswana of Namibian descent have voluntarily registered to be relocated to Namibia, together with their livestock – 14 816 head of cattle, 48 879 goats, 1 300 donkeys and 684 horses,” the report reads.
This comes after Botswana Daily News last year reported that Namibia has approved the repatriation of 75 Baherero and Ovanderu from Botswana.
They have already received their approval documents and are awaiting the facilitation of the repatriation process by Botswana’s department of immigration and citizenship, including the provision of transport to the border.
Namibia’s preliminary report states that the government has purchased four farms in the //Kharas, Hardap, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions, with a combined size of 31 550ha at a cost of N$54,4 million.
“Additionally, the ministry is in the process of acquiring another farm in the Otjozondjupa region for repatriation purposes, with a size of 6 269ha at a cost of N$13,2 million,” the report further reads.
The ministry has also carried out a borehole citing exercise in the identified area in March two years ago to drill and instal five boreholes.
The government is currently developing a national policy on Namibians in the diaspora.
This follows a 2021 Cabinet directive to develop such a policy.
International relations and cooperation executive director Penda Naanda says the policy will direct how the government engages Namibians living abroad through partnerships with state-owned enterprises, the private sector, faith-based organisations, academia, the media and civil society.
“Moreover, with this national policy we seek to, among others, establish mechanisms to collect data on Namibians in the diaspora, as well as to establish communication channels, including through engagements with diaspora associations abroad,” he says.
The government wants the diaspora community to actively participate in the development of the country by creating conditions conducive to doing business, attracting investments, and transferring knowledge and skills to the people back home.
The government intends to first host the involved Batswana in the Otjozondjupa region’s Gam communal area on 245 807ha of land.
“The process to source a contractor to develop water infrastructure has commenced, but was delayed due to Covid-19.
“The ministry is busy finalising the procurement for the development of infrastructure in the identified area,” the report reads.
In 2019, the government announced it was mobilising financial resources to repatriate 3 000 individuals from neighbouring Botswana. The commissioner of refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Likius Valombola, said the Namibian government was ready to accommodate its citizens, who have returned from self-imposed exile.
Furthermore, the report states that 1 020 people have been overcrowding 49 farms in seven regions.
“Out of the 1 020 beneficiaries, a total of 561 on 36 overcrowded farms in the Omaheke, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa, Kunene and Hardap regions were issued with allotment letters.
“This leaves 459 beneficiaries on 13 overcrowded farms in the Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, Erongo, Khomas and Oshikoto regions still to be issued with allotment letters,” the report reads.
The ministry is planning to engage beneficiaries on the remainder of the 13 overcrowded farms this year to issue them allotment letters.
“The issue of security of tenure for people on overcrowded group resettlement farms and a decongestion strategy will be covered under the resettlement criteria, and it is expected to be completed in the 2023/24 financial year,” the report reads.
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