Omaruru farmers ordered to leave

WINDHOEKFAITH SANKWASA

Ten farmers, who have taken possession of three government farms handed to Chief Mannasse Zeraeua in the Omaruru district of the Erongo Region, have been ordered by the Windhoek High Court to vacate them.
The farmers were ordered by Judge Dave Smuts to vacate the farms Otjumue No 109, Otjomue Sud No 110 and Gross Okombahe No193, along with their livestock and any possessions they unlawfully brought onto the premises.
The farmers are John Mate, Samueline Hiko, Johannes Mutanga, Boesman Tjitjahuma, Dawid Erastus, Cornelia Murotua, Noag Tjitua, Mathews Tjotombo, Gerson Kandanga and Emgahard Puriza.
They have until July 10 to respond as to why the order should not be made final.
The farmers were further ordered to pay the legal cost of the application.
The respondents are represented by Adolf Denk on instruction from Kaijata Kangueehi, while Zeraeua is represented by Dennis Khama on instruction from Josua Kaumbi.
Last week Thursday, the Zeraeua Traditional Authority filed an urgent court application following unsuccessful attempts to have the farmers removed from the farms handed over to Zeraeua in 2012.
Zeraeua and his senior traditional councillor Fabianus Hivirikee Uaseuapuani's application stated that the farms in the Omatjete communal area were over-grazed and in poor condition.
The illegal occupation was said to be preventing Zeraeua from allocating the farms to benefit his community.
The application said some of the illegal settlers already owned farms elsewhere.
Zeraeua blamed the illegal occupation on drought, saying it drove the farmers to start grazing their livestock there without permission from the traditional authority.
The farmers have erected structures on the farms and some have even put up fences.
During the court hearing yesterday, Khama said Zeraeua had failed in his attempts to have the farmers vacate the farms.
Traditional authority officials held a meeting with the farmers at Omborondo and Otupupa villages on May 9 but they allegedly refused to remove their animals from the farms.
On May 14, traditional authority officials found that the padlocks barring access to a water reservoir and boreholes were broken and cattle were grazing in the holding pen.
Illegal hunting is also taking place on the farms. The farmers are allegedly in the process of installing their own water pipelines there.

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