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Tuesday, 07 September 2010

Land Registration Brochure, Film Out

A brochure and 30-minute film were launched yesterday as information tools on the recently embarked upon registration of communal land. Before the Act came into effect, traditional chiefs and authorities allocated land-use rights according to traditional tenure systems. This was done mostly orally and not documented, leading to a myriad of land-use disputes. The Communal Land Reform Act aims at establishing a proper and uniform land registration system for all existing rights and for land rights for which application will be made in future. The Act distinguishes between two rights to use land in communal areas, which are customary land rights and non-commercial residential and farming use and rights of leasehold for commercial activities.Customary land rights entail the allocation of rights to residential units and rights to farming units. These rights are strictly for non-commercial practices. Leasehold land rights are allocated to people who wish to carry out economic activities, like a business or agriculture in designated areas. The communal land registration process started in March 2003, and will be intensified with financial assistance from the German government. The European Union, the German Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development, KfW, and DED assisted the lands ministry with the development of the land registration process. The EU's Rural Poverty Reduction Programme (RPRP), for which 53 million Euros have been provided for under the ninth European Development Fund (EDF), made available 5 million Euros to assist the ministry during 2005 and 2009. This grant was used for the purchase of cars, funding of bursaries and in-house training, the provision of technical assistance. It was also used to take aerial photographs as a reference for the identification and demarcation of individual land plots. Production and processing of these pictures cost 1.7 million Euros, which was also funded by the EU. This approach, said EU Ambassador to Namibia, Dr Elisabeth Pape, was successfully tested in several villages, confirming that this was speeding up the registration of communal land titles. "Registration of land rights is the starting point to turn land into a more productive asset and to ensure sustainable management of this fragile natural resource," said Pape.
 Counsellor to the German Embassy in Namibia, Reinhold Neukötter, said the Communal Land Reform Act is fair, just and gender-sensitive with far-reaching impacts to the majority of Namibian citizens.

Source: Allafrica