Disabled farmer left high and dry

In 2009, Elmo Plaatjies was involved in a car accident, leaving him with serious injuries and the loss of his right leg, but his disability is the least of his problems.

18 September 2020 | Local News

Elizabeth Joseph

KEETMANSHOOP



Farmer Elmo Plaatjies has been left more vulnerable than ever, with his farm Nooitgedagt without water for more than six months due to a broken windmill.

In 2009, Plaatjies was involved in a car accident, leaving him with serious injuries and the loss of his right leg. However, he said his disability is the least of his problems. Due to the broken windmill, he has to watch his livestock suffer and die of thirst.

The issue is compounded because his staff and their family members have to walk seven kilometres a day to fetch water. Three 20-litre water containers are then transported on a donkey cart to the farm, where it is divided between the staff and animals.

“I have tried everything in my power to reach out to different stakeholders that I thought could help. I called everyone I could think of, including rural water development and the planning department at the ministry of agriculture, as well as the governor of //Karas Region, Aletha Frederick - all to no avail.

“Some even went as far as saying that the farm I am on is resettled land. But my farm is a communal farm.

Yet nothing I say seems to convince them,” Plaatjies said with tears in his eyes. Although efforts have been made to repair the windmill, Plaatjies feels the best solution would be to install a water or solar pump.

This way the solution would be a long-term one, and not one that will cost more money to repair or replace.

“This water issue has been going on for the past seven years, and every effort from our side has fallen on deaf ears,” he said.

Plaatjies and some of the neighbouring farmers say they are unable to continue with the basic upkeep of their farms without a secure and constant flow of fresh water.

“We cannot plant any crops to feed ourselves due to the ongoing water problem. The animals are suffering as well. It is devastating.”

Enquiries to the relevant parties went unanswered.

[email protected]

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