Govt urged to act on farmworkers

15 August 2019 | Agriculture

Land rights activist Karl Mudani ||Aribeb has urged government to introduce a special dispensation for farmworkers affected by resettlement in all regions of the country.

Such a dispensation, he said, must also cater for cases in which farms are bought and sold between private entities, and should protect farmworkers against inhumane layoffs, evictions and corridor dumping.

“The current system that leaves all farmworkers out in the cold is morally repugnant, as it perversely creates major social problems that are preventable. In the greater Khomas Region, where the majority of farmworkers are of |Khomanî origin, such a system will go a long way in addressing the plight of this vulnerable group,” he said.

Rosa Namises, a human rights activist who also doubles as a representative of the |Khomanîn, agreed there is a need for government to restore the dignity of farmworkers.

She emphasised there is also a more pressing need for government to recognise that generational farmworkers residing in corridors are the children of those who lost their land during the “land robbery”.

“And what followed this land robbery was slavery. The people were robbed of an independent life and self-employment opportunities, and forced to work for a farmer; often the same person who took their land,” she said.

Namises is, however, not in agreement with a special dispensation, but is rather seeking complete restoration.

“They have lost everything. Government must bring restorative justice to the people of Khomas and other generational farmworkers; this includes for women and children, who have become adults today,” said Namises.

According to her this must include them returning to their land and providing them with support and technical assistance.

“But you cannot include those people who have already benefitted to some degree (in terms) of restoration.

“But the |Khomanîn people have never received an inch of restoration. They are the people who are living in the driest parts of Sori Soris and who are spread out in different parts of Namibia. They have not received a spoonful of the fruits of independence. They are struggling and downtrodden,” she added.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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