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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 March, 2004, 18:48 GMT
Namibia land seizures 'very soon'
Namibian farm
About 4,000 mostly white farmers own much of Namibia's best land
The Namibian government has said that it will begin forcibly taking land from white farmers "very soon".

Lands Minister Hifikepunye Pohamba said in a speech to parliament that the government had enough money to kick-start the process.

But expropriations would be carried out within the law, he said, in an apparent attempt to allay fears of Zimbabwe-style land invasions.

Mr Pohamba did not specify how many or which farms would be targeted.

The government has so far only purchased land from farmers who wish to sell for redistribution to some 240,000 people waiting to be settled.

About 4,000, mostly white, farmers own almost half of Namibia's arable land.

'Impatience'

Last year, some Namibian farm workers threatened to invade white-owned farms. The BBC's Frauke Jensen in Windhoek says political pressure ahead of this year's elections may have influenced the move.

NAMIBIAN LAND REFORM
118 farms bought since 1990
$105m spent
37,100 people resettled
"The ministry has adequate funds to kick-start the [expropriation] process and will proceed with this option without further delay as those who should have benefited from land reform are becoming impatient," Mr Pohamba said.

He added that expropriation notices would be issued to the owners of some commercial farms in areas where no farms had been offered to the government on the basis of a willing seller and a willing buyer.

Absentee and foreign farmers as well as those owning more than one farm and those believed not to treat their workers fairly will be among those targeted.

Landowners would be given an official letter to say that they had been targeted and would be asked to offer a price for their farms, the minister said.

But he failed to calm the fears of owners of farms on a list published by the Swapo party newspaper Namibia Today on Friday.

Mr Pohamba had been expected to say whether or not the farms on the list would be targeted.


SEE ALSO:
Namibia braces for Nujoma exit
22 Jan 04  |  Africa
Namibia's worried white farmers
06 Sep 02  |  Africa
Namibia's burning land issue
04 Aug 00  |  Africa


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