By Mwaka Simasiku
UNITY in Justice Chief Executive Officer Mr.Andre Delport, out looked on the ongoing tobacco saga regarding an application by the Chinese company to farm tobacco in the Zambezi Region covering 10 thousand hectares of fertile land.
Mr. Delport, denoted the effects of tobacco farming on the land and economy it would impose, especially on the people of the Zambezi if it were to be approved and encourage the local community members to be involved in this saga.
He told the Caprivi Vision that “a few people are going to benefit.”
He added that the tobacco itself is going to contaminate the ground water and the ground itself, they take 10 thousand hectares of land, so grazing land is going, land for cultivation is going, for food, now where must we cultivate?” Mr Delport asked.
Mr Delport speculated that “the application is supposed to be made with a 50% Namibian share holding and my instigations have shown at the department of economical affaires that the company which makes the application 100% is owned by Chinese.”
When asked if he would support the project if it comes with other agricultural products he answered stating “vision 2030 together with the harambe prosperity plan padded from the president Dr. Hage Geingob is for economic freedom for people not to go hungry in the country, so what matters is feeding the people.”
He was asked what his organisation would do if this application was to be approved, he stated “In terms of the law, the Communal Lands Reform Act 5 of 2002 explicitly states that ‘Land may not be withdrawn from any communal land area under subsection (1) (c), unless all rights held by the state and just compensation for the acquisition of such rights is paid to the person concerned.”
He further said that if there is a grieved party, you can see the Minister and it goes on arbitration “the compensation payable to a person in terms of subsection (2) must be determined by agreement between the Minister and the person concerned; or, failing such agreement, by arbitration in accordance with the provisions of the Arbitration Act, 1965 (Act No 42 of 1965).”
Mr. Delport clinched encouraging “The community should get more information regarding this, be more aware of this and be involved with the Regional Councils, not to be passive, because it is their country, their future, their children’s future, their grandchildren’s future, be more involved!”
Asked from the Chairperson of Zambezi Communal Land Board, Ms Regina Ndopu- Lubinda if she received any complaints or rejections from the local people (stakeholders) regarding the application and the hearing, proved futile.
However, Caprivi Vision has established that the hearing for the objection of the Zambezi Tobacco plantation was slated for deliberations on January 24, 2017, but unfortunately was paused on hold and the outcome of the next hearing is unknown.
Mr.Andre Delport ,Chief Executive Officer of Unity in Justice