Community wants mineral rights

The commission of inquiry into claims of ancestral land rights and restitution started its public hearings in three regions yesterday.

06 August 2019 | Agriculture

The /Khomani community in the /Khomas Region say they do not just want the return of lost land, but also all rights to the subsoil of such land, which currently belongs to the state.

“We want our land back, including all resources underground, be it minerals, water and habitat. Our people used to harvest and trade with these,” says Rosa Namises.

Namises recommended that the rights to ancestral land be returned, as well as the rights to water, minerals and all resources in the subsoil of such land. Alternatively, she said, ancestral land right holders should enjoy preferential treatment when the state grants exclusive prospecting licences (EPL) and rights to minerals.

Namises made submissions on behalf of the /Khomani community to the commission of inquiry into claims of ancestral land rights and restitution, which started its public hearings in the Khomas Region, as well as the Okorukambe constituency in Omaheke, and Tsumkwe in the Otjozondjupa Region yesterday.

These hearings will continue until 16 August. Submissions can be made until 15 August.

/Khomani submission

In their submission, the /Khomani said they acknowledge the fact that the ‡Nukhoen [Damara] and San are the original inhabitants – and owners – of Namibia.

The /Khomani claim that their “cultural landscape” is in the central part of Namibia, or the /Khomas Highland East area, most of which they lost during the German colonial and South African apartheid periods.

They say the cultural landscape reflects the ethos of the /Khomani and related San people of “living softly on the land and seeing themselves as part of nature, in a landscape where there is a respectful relationship between humans, plants and animals, links them to this land in a unique way that epitomises sustainability”.

They demand the expropriation of farms like //Khaus, Arexas,

//Hoeses, //Khanaxas (or Baumgartsbrunn), Hagos, Gubagub, !Garib, and Dordabis, as well as royalties on the land.

They want to have access to gravesites on farms without restriction, and title deeds on ancestral land where they currently “live in insecurity” at Omitara, Dordabis, /Aub and the farms of new owners where they have become generational farmworkers.

The group further wants the renaming of a number of places: Khomas to /Khomas; Aegaigas to !Ao//Aexas; Daan Viljoen to //Gaus.

Moreover, they say they want the erection of a monument of remembrance of those killed during the German colonial period.

Otjiwetjombungu village

Residents of the Otjiwetjombungu village in the Otjinene constituency in Omaheke are demanding the complete removal of a cordon fence erected by the previous owner of Farm Alexeck, a certain Bullick.

The Otjiwetjombungu community said the cordon fence, which was erected in 1962, has limited their access and rights to the land they formerly occupied and impeded their movement.

They say about 7 kilometres into the current Farm Alexeck 1053 and 15 kilometres into Stilhoek is land that belongs to the Otjiwetjombungu, with 441 hectares of land having been lost.

They want resettlement on farms adjacent to Otjiwetjombungu village, or alternatively encroachment onto these farms to expand the village.

Farms affected by this claim are Alexeck 1053 and Zimnik Sud 1474 (presumably owned by the state), as well as privately-owned Stilhoek 1466, Lorenzo 824, and Finale Gebied 2.

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