Challenges in land allocation administration by traditional authorities

Before the Communal Land Reform Act, Act No. 5 of 2002 (CLRA) Traditional Authorities (TAs) were solely responsible for land allocation, cancellation and administration of communal land TA’s also administered the Permission to Occupy (PTO) now converted to Leasehold The Act establishes Communal Land Boards (CLB) to assist the TA’s in land administration & management.
This all came from Resolution 18 of the 1991 Land Conference, which states TA continue allocation of communal lands and CLBs to be administrators
The CLRA did not abolish the role of the TA, but they have to work alongside the CLB with clearly defined powers & functions.
The TAs allocate & cancel Customary Land Rights which the CLBs have to ratify.
CLBs consider & cancel Leaseholds, and TAs have to consent 
Both have powers to remove illegal fences
Their decisions can be appealed against by any aggrieved party to the Minister
Challenges in Land Allocation & Land Administration
The main challenges that have affected smooth registration & resolving of disputes are:
The misconception of the powers between TAs and CLBs
TAs allocating or cancelling leasehold
The limited technical capacity of both
Inability to interpret the CLRA correctly
 Traditional Authorities area of jurisdiction
Registration can’t progress, land development is halted
Unrecognised TAs discourage their subjects to register
inability to remove illegal fences
Who should remove illicit fences, TA or CLB
Procedures not clear on how to cause removal
Lack of adequate resources for both TAs and CLBs  (logistics and financial)
TAs lack even stationeries to keep records of allocations and decisions
No financial allocation for land function by TAs
CLB budget not adequate for the huge task
 Lack of in-depth knowledge of the CLRA)
Decisions of both are often appealed against

Lack of technical capacity of CLBs
At the beginning CLBs lack knowledge of the provision of CLRA
Training offered at the beginning of the CLBs term, but too compact and non-legal person may not comprehend all in a week
Lack of trained personnel,  ICT equipment,  transport
Trained staff supplied by PoN Land management courses, ICT equipment and vehicles provided by MLR and Donors
These challenges addressed by MLR assisted by donors, though not eliminated
Illegal fences
Illegal fencing is prevalent in some regions and some not existing at all
In regions such as Karas, Hardap, Erongo and Zambezi
The document states only regions where high cases of illegal fences were reported

Challenges to remove illegal fences
Section 18 of the CLRA prohibit the erection of new fences without authorisation
Section 44 criminalised the erection of fences without permission or retention of a fence after its recognition is denied
These provisions had not helped the situation;
Unclear procedure to remove fences
Order to remove illegal fences contested
Difficulties to distinguish new and old as recognition of existing land right took long

Nature of TAs Set Up Hamper Progress
Issues of jurisdiction
Lack of understanding of the provisions of the CLRA leading to unclear roles and functions
Unrecognised TAs
Lack of stationeries
No record management systems
No budget for land matters
No transportation

Financial challenges

The CLBs started with a very low budget of about 2.6 million in 2006/2007
MLR continue to increase budgetary allocation as illustrated in the table
Only when that of the donor increased through the Basket Fund that MLR budget decreased


The Ministry of Land Reform has since the operation of the CLRA sought to address the challenges as outlined above by increasing budget allocation
 And solicit funds from donors to address challenges as all require financial resources.
Funds are not sufficient to meet all needs to make Namibian Communal Land Development a case in point
Money is just a means and not an end in itself
  Land remains a complex issue requiring a multi-sectoral approach and cooperation of all stakeholders involved in land allocation & administration.