(English) Namibia: Entire Community Faces Eviction

(English) July 3rd, 2012

At least 36 households of the /Khomanin community under the leadership of Chief Josephat Gawa-!Nab who live at Satansloch Farm near Daan Viljoen Game Park are about to be evicted.

The farmers, who moved to Satansloch in 2010 after most of them were evicted from nearby farms where they worked, are mainly elderly widows and widowers.

A judgment delivered in the Hight Court on June 4, 2012 upheld the initial order to evict the families from the farm.

The Legal Assistance Centre, which represented the evicted families, said in a letter that they believe “that the outcome was inevitable but that the matter was not a lost cause for your people and has (publicly) highlighted the plight of the landless”.

The LAC regretted the outcome of the court case and revealed that there were no grounds for appeal in the matter and that they were closing their files.

The /Khomanin Traditional Authority expressed shock at the impending eviction and treatment of the landless in general.

“We the /Khomanin clan are hereby (and we continue to be) shocked and disappointed by the City of Windhoek and government’s careless and very arrogant handling of the land issue and the landwide evictions of farm workers from farms and settlement areas, where they were born, especially after their productive and working lives are over,” reads a statement from the group.

They said the authorities were unsympathetic towards poor citizens whose properties they destroyed with bulldozers while evicting them from open spaces and in cities, especially in Windhoek and Keetmanshoop.

“This reminds us of the erstwhile apartheid treatment of our people and goes even worse,” said the traditional authority, adding that history was repeating itself.

The /Khomanin Traditional Authority said that according to media reports, it appeared that portions of Baumgartsbrunn were being sold to the City of Windhoek to build hundreds of houses for rent to the homeless in Windhoek and questioned where the jobless would get money from.

The statement further says that Damaras and San people were the only two groups who lost their land but were not assisted or had their pleas heard – and in particular the /Khomanin from around Windhoek who were pushed out into landlessness from the Old Location, /Aigams (Windhoek) and !Ao-//Aexas (Daan Viljoen).

“It is really petty that our government still functions and operates with old laws which are above the will of the people. The laws and acts as well as their functions in certain areas seem to scream ‘who or what are they anyway’,” they complained.

Last year, some families who have been living for decades at Satansloch Farm complained that they feared for their homes after the Windhoek Municipality reportedly approved a plan to resettle 36 more families on the farm.

At the time, some community activists complained that Chief Gawa-!nab approached them in 2010 to temporarily accommodate some Baumgartsbrunn settlers who were experiencing drought in their area.

They said before Gawa-!nab came to them, Satansloch residents had approached the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement to allow them to expand as they were close to 40 people living on a small plot of land with more than 100 cattle and 300 small livestock.

Apparently, the ministry referred them to the chief, but instead of helping them solve the problem, Gawa-!nab apparently hijacked the idea by bringing more settlers.

The chief apparently then started mobilising residents of Baumgartsbrunn to move to Satansloch while charging them N$100 each.

One of the community members, Jeff Uirab, said then that it was difficult to protect their homesteads and livestock and that grass was vanishing rapidly owing to the growing number of livestock.

Another community member, Hannes Jacobs, said they had told the chief (Gawa-!nab) that they could not accommodate people because they had no mandate to do so.


Source: All Africa

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