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The Himba tribe, Namibia (Wikipedia)

Namibia set to pass black-ownership law

Businesses and industry in the southern African nation have opposed the racial ownership plan, but Namibia will table laws to "distribute wealth" among its mostly black citizens by the end of the year, despite resistance.

Published: March 3, 2018, 9:08 am

    A law to compel white owners to sell a 25 percent stake in businesses to blacks, would promote “economic equality” the government believes after consultations on the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework.

    It will soon become mandatory for white-owned businesses to sell a 25 percent stake to blacks, President Hage Geingob told reporters Tuesday in the capital, Windhoek.

    “We have to address the underlying structural impediments which make it difficult, if not impossible, for Namibians to effectively participate in the economy,” Geingob said.

    At least six areas have been singled out which would contribute in increasing “black participation in business”, Bloomberg reported. Namibia will draw comparative experiences from South Africa too, Geingob said.

    But South Africa has had a similar disastrous policy which has failed to redress inequalities because it focuses on increasing black ownership rather than raising education standards in a region with a glaring skills shortage.

    For the “disadvantaged by inequality” to acquire stakes in white companies, the government aims to force the 6 percent of Namibia’s 2.5 million citizens who are white and the fewer still who own enterprises, to simply give away part of their businesses.

    The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry has criticised the economic ownership bill, saying it will result in capital flight.

    The Bloomberg report also falsely blames the “legacy of white-minority rule in South Africa” that resulted in Namibian blacks being “disenfranchised and displaced”, completely ignoring the country’s history.

    One of the largest tribes, the Himba, were victims of kidnapping during the South African Border war, either taken as hostages or abducted to join the Angolan branch of the communist People’s Liberation Army of Namibia, PLAN, the army of SWAPO.

    In February 2012, Himba leaders issued two separate Declarations to the African Union and to the OHCHR of the United Nations.

    The first, titled “Declaration of the most affected Ovahimba, Ovatwa, Ovatjimba and Ovazemba against the Orokawe Dam in the Baynes Mountains” outlines the objections from the Himba that reside near the Kunene River.

    The second, titled “Declaration by the traditional Himba leaders of Kaokoland in Namibia” lists violations of civil, cultural, economic, environmental, social and political rights perpetrated by the government of Namibia.

    September 2012, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples heard the Himba’s concerns that they do not have recognized traditional authorities and that they are placed under the jurisdictions of dominant tribes, who make decisions on their behalf.

    In his view, the lack of recognition in accordance with Namibian law, relates to a lack of recognition of the tribe.

     

     

     

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