Aroab farmers still at Dickbusch
KEETMANSHOOP, 20 MAR (NAMPA) – Aroab small-scale farmers illegally occupying resettlement farm Dickbusch in the Aroab District, have defied an eviction order and continue residing there.
The eviction notice stipulated that the farmers should have vacated the premises by 27 February 2017.
Spokesperson of the farmers, Gertjie Witbooi told Nampa on Monday the group resolved to stay on the farm until they are resettled elsewhere.
“We were waiting to be evicted that day but none of the Government authorities pitched. We were planning to resist removal anyway,” he said.
||Kharas Regional Chief of the Ministry of Land Reform, Albertus Engelbrecht refused to comment when approached on the matter.
The farmers, meanwhile, joined the recently-established Landless People’s Movement and are preparing their official contributions to the planned Second National Land Conference in September.
On 11 March, the farmers relayed their grievances in a documentary with international news network Al Jazeera, which had learnt of the farmers’ land predicament.
“They contacted us from South Africa and told us they were following news reports about the land issue in Namibia and our invasion of Dickbusch,” Witbooi said.
They came to the farm and the farmers told them their story. The documentary is expected to be aired in the near future.
The farmers are currently liaising with counterparts from Koës, who are in the same predicament of not having traditional authority representation on the ||Kharas Resettlement Committee.
This absence has proven to negatively affect the farmers’ application for land resettlement.
“The Aroab farmers have established a cooperative and we are busy assisting the Koës farmers with their application. Our mission is to get these two groups resettled on two different farms,” Witbooi said.
The farmers also plan to lobby for the representation of cooperatives on the regional resettlement committee.
For now, they co-exist peacefully alongside the workers of one of the two beneficiaries of Dickbusch farm, Zikizee Mutenge from Omaheke Region.
“We explained to them that we are staying there in protest against Government and they understood,” he said.
The other beneficiary on the second unit of the farm is Ottilie Shidolo from the Ohangwena Region.