'We're going nowhere'

The farmers say they have been settled legally by the traditional authority.

15 April 2019 | Agriculture

Families settled on Farm Okongava No. 72 are again up in arms after minister Utoni Nujoma said in parliament they are there illegally.

The families have been settled on the 15 160-hectare farm after an initial understanding was reached between the lands ministry and the Tsoaxudaman traditional authority that the farm be used to extend the boundaries of Otjimbingwe, which is one of the smallest communal areas in the country.

The families now say that Nujoma is lying by omission about this arrangement, and have vowed not to move until the government can provide them with an acceptable alternative place. United Democratic Party (UDF) president Apius Auchub asked Nujoma in parliament why he had backpedalled on an earlier decision to have the farm allocated to the Tsoaxudaman authority for the expansion of Otjimbingwe.

Nujoma responded that the Tsoaxudaman authority had taken ownership of the farm in December 2014 purportedly without any directive from the lands ministry. Nujoma also said that camps allocated by the authority to a number of Otjimbingwe farmers was also done without authorisation by, or knowledge of, the ministry.

Nujoma said the ministry has since unsuccessfully tried, through the attorney-general's office, to effect eviction notices.



Angry small-scale farmers

Some of the small-scale farmers last week insisted that they have been properly settled on Farm Okongava and vowed to remain there.

“We are not going anywhere. We will not move an inch come hell or high water,” one of the small-farmers preferring anonymity said. “Minister Nujoma must not threaten us by claiming that we are there illegally. He must go and ask the traditional authority that placed us there. He must also not forget the letters he has sent to the traditional authority.”

Tsoaxudaman chief Joseph Neumbo also vowed that the settled farmers will not move out of the farm.

“These are people who are there legally. They are Namibians, from the Otjimbingwe area, and they will remain there,” Neumbo said.

After the purchase of the farm in 2014 it has been carved up along mining interests and the small-scale farmers fear that their rights to the farm are being compromised in the process.

“We believe they realised that there are minerals on the farm and they do not want to lose out. They are now taking from us and giving to the elite. How long will the poor suffer at the hands of our own government if only the elites are to be resettled or given EPLs [exclusive prospecting licences]?” the small-scale farmer asked.



The background

In April 2014 former lands minister Alpheus !Naruseb suggested that the then recently acquired farm be “availed for the expansion of the Otjimbingwe communal area”.

!Naruseb then said necessary arrangements would be made for the gazetting of the farm as a communal area.

On 10 August 2015 the new lands minister Nujoma wrote to Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua that the ministry was in the final stages of this process, pointing out that there were technical processes that needed to be finalised.

“It is envisaged that once finalised this farm will benefit the community of Otjimbingwe through alleviating the grazing pressure and general population decongestion of the aforesaid communal area. It is also the thinking of the ministry that this farm be allocated to successful farmers and those with a large number of livestock from the Otjimbingwe area, to address the challenges associated with the prevailing grazing and carrying circumstances,” Nujoma wrote in the letter.

The Tsoaxudaman authority in August 2015 started to settle at least 28 families in different camps on the farm, but on 15 January 2016 the ministry advertised the farm for resettlement purposes.

The late chief Betuel Haraseb expressed shock and disappointment and asked Nujoma to withdraw this advert.

The community sought an audience with President Hage Geingob, and was referred to former vice-president Nickey Iyambo who promised to take up the matter with Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila then wrote a letter to chief Haraseb on 24 August 2016 to say that transfer of the farm to the community was receiving the land ministry's attention.

However, the small-farmers got eviction notices from the attorney-general in March 2017.



CATHERINE SASMAN

Catherine Sasman

Similar News

 

Dairy industry seeks solutions

21 hours ago | Agriculture

Dairy stakeholders recently met with agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb to discuss possible solutions to save the industry. During the meeting, that took place on 20...

New Meatco CEO emphasises quantity, quality

21 hours ago | Agriculture

New Meatco CEO Mushokobanji Mwilima has stressed that with the continued drought, the quantity and quality of livestock at abattoirs has to remain competitive, otherwise...

Oshakati abattoir grinds to a halt

5 days ago - 21 February 2020 | Agriculture

KIAT Investment, which was awarded a tender to operate the Oshakati abattoir, is unable to start slaughtering because it cannot afford to pay the electricity...

N$165 million for 13 farms

6 days ago - 20 February 2020 | Agriculture

The lands ministry spent N$165 million on the acquisition of 13 farms measuring 76 272 hectares to resettle landless Namibians during the 2017/18 financial year....

Namibian beef leaves for USA

6 days ago - 20 February 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT Meatco reached another major milestone yesterday when it sent its first commercial consignment of beef to the United States...

Challenges in agri sector can be overcome

6 days ago - 20 February 2020 | Agriculture

Agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb said the challenges facing the agriculture sector can be overcome with commitment, dedication and a conscious approach. Addressing ministry staff and...

Namibia eyes N$16m GEF funding

1 week ago - 19 February 2020 | Agriculture

In an effort to address climate change in Namibia, a meeting was held last week to discuss a proposal that has to be submitted to...

Unions reveal desperate drought conditions

1 week ago - 19 February 2020 | Agriculture

The Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) and the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers' Union (NECFU) held a meeting with agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb to discuss the ongoing...

Meatco gets 87% of Norway beef quota

1 week ago - 13 February 2020 | Agriculture

Meatco has stressed the importance of the Norwegian beef export quota after being allocated 87.5% of the 1 600-tonne quota for this year. A quota...

Water flow resumes to Hardap irrigation scheme

2 weeks ago - 12 February 2020 | Agriculture

Ellanie SmitWater supply to the Hardap irrigation scheme from the Hardap Dam resumed this morning at 05:00. The supply has been guaranteed for the next...

Latest News

WBSR invests N$93.6 mln in...

21 hours ago | Business

With an investment of N$93.6 million in a new salt processing plant Walvis Bay Salt Refiners (WBSR) can now target international markets as the company...

Wanted: Business direction

21 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Government policy – or the lack thereof, government regulation, government failure, government’s fiscal position and the recession: Ask the business sector in...

Africa Briefs

21 hours ago | Economics

SA could use mining royalties for sovereign fundSouth Africa could use mining royalties to set up a proposed sovereign wealth fund, mineral resources and energy...

Let's work together and solve...

21 hours ago | Business

Chantell Husselmann - The PwC Business School has started the year 2020 on a high note with a special occasion that marks the first of...

Dark shadow over fishing quotas

21 hours ago | Opinion

With a total of 5 190 fishing rights applications received by 31 August 2018 for the 90 to 120 rights available in the new allocation...

Deere taps into tech in...

21 hours ago | Business

It's ride-hailing, farm style. Deere & Co. is teaming up with the “Uber of tractors” in Africa and betting on a future where farmers summon...

NSX bears brunt of recession

21 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – The recession didn’t spare the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) last year: Trading volumes dropped and the share prices of most of the...

Nust staff expose 'rot'

21 hours ago | Education

A group of concerned Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) staff members have appealed to President Hage Geingob as the “last resort” to rescue...

Ndeitunga wants more operational manpower

21 hours ago | Police

Nampol Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga says some of the biggest challenges facing the police force are the increase of violent crimes, gender-based violence and the high...

Load More