WINDHOEK, 29 JUN – Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi said if deliberate measures are taken to empower poor black farmers with the requisite skills and funds over a sustained period, they will flourish.
He made the remarks during an interview with Nampa recently in the wake of utterances by Land Reform Minister, Utoni Nujoma when he questioned how a “very expensive” farm can be run by a “poor person”.
In an interview earlier this month with South Africa’s eNCA, Nujoma said: “You cannot bring in a person from an informal settlement, put him there and hope that he will succeed to farm. We would like to resettle people who will really make a significant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product.”
Swartbooi pointed out that the current crop of German and Afrikaner farmers who are farming productively and profitably in Namibia were once poor and thus called on the Namibian government to imitate what its predecessors did back then to uplift Namibians from abject poverty.
There were specific interventions that were made over a sustained period of time and with sufficient funding so that these groups of poor people can reach a certain level, he continued.
The former land reform deputy minister stressed: “Poor white Afrikaners and Germans, their governments gave them farms, got empty land, put whites there. Those governments gave them 0 per cent interest loans.”
He added they were given funding for equipment and infrastructure development and top-quality livestock for breeding purposes.
“Why is it that that model should be dismissed now by a black man who claims to have been a liberation fighter?” he questioned.
Consequently, Swartbooi is of the view that Nujoma’s remarks “were politically incorrect, morally unacceptable and socially repudiate”, coming from a lands minister.
“That is why the ministry of lands is a ministry of land reform! The purpose to land reform is to reform the livelihoods to a standard acceptable for living,” charged the LPM leader.