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NAU and Land Reform ministry bring heads together over land tax

by Kelvin Chiringa

Following the court verdict which granted an interdict against the payment of land tax until the revision application has been concluded, the Ministry of Land Reform has since stopped issueing land tax assessments and clearance certificates. 

The implication of this is that no farm transfer can take place. 

The Namibia Agricultural Union Executive Council had an urgent discussion with the Valuer General, Rudolf !Nanuseb, to find a solution for this problem. 

“A positive discussion took place and both parties undertook to meet again together with their legal representatives within the next two weeks in order to find a solution,” said the farmers’ union’s Erika von Gierszewski.

The Villager reported lately that land owners who were represented by legal representatives at the Valuation Court as well as land owners who were represented by the agricultural union had issued a joint application which put aside the 2017 land tax.

This was served before Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula a few weeks ago.

The urgent application was submitted in December 2017, pending the verdict of an appeal/revision application which were submitted at the High Court in March 2017 against the disputed verdict in the Valuation Court or alternatively the administrative procedures which were followed when drafting the 2012/2017 Valuation Rolls.

“The Court verdict has been delivered on February 21, 2018 which forbids the Ministry of Land Reform to impose land tax until the revision application has been heard in Court. The various legal representatives are currently busy preparing for the revision application. This implicates that currently no land tax is payable pending the verdict of the revision application,” NAU is quoted as saying.

The union had earlier also indicated that its members are committed to the payment of land tax as long as it was reasonable, fair and affordable.

Meanwhile in other news, the Executive Council (EC) of the NAU received feedback from the working committee which was tasked to draft a rural safety plan.

This plan comprises two departments, firstly how to be prepared in personal circumstances on the farm and secondly which actions must take place on a regional level.

All regional representatives were informed and will be in charge to have the strategy implemented.

This will include identifying young farmers who are prepared to act as safety coordinators in each region.

These persons will be fully trained to be prepared to execute this task.

Urgent talks have also been held to implement action plans to assist farmers who had under-normal rainfall for the past five years.

“This is a national crisis and awareness actions will be taken to inform Government and the public about this serious situation. Furthermore the EC took note that it is expected that due to the national drought there will be less hay available to assist farmers,” said NAU. 

Thus it should rather be focused to look for other alternatives for these farmers to help them to survive in these difficult times.

Interested farmers are requested to draft a CV with information about their education, interests, etc. and to sent it to their regional representatives whereafter it will be attemted to create alternative income opportunities.