Ministry Delegates Official to Otjiku

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By Wezi Tjaronda

WINDHOEK

There seems to be a glimmer of hope after Otjiku farm evictees were last week visited by an official from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, for the first time since their eviction two years ago.

New Era was informed that the ministry’s directorate of resettlement sent an official from Otjiwarongo for them to familiarize themselves with the problems the evictees face.

One of the evictees, Godfried Mbauruma, said on Friday they were awaiting the ministry’s next step after the official wrote down their problems and said he would report to head office.

Amongst the problems the evictees face is having to share dirty and contaminated river water with livestock and wildlife. None of the evictees, who together with their children total about 56, are employed. This means they have no source of income to buy food.

They have about 200 goats, donkeys and horses left after having lost most of their animals along the road where they live. The makeshift homes of the evictees along the road are a safety hazard for children whom they fear may be run over by road users.

The source also said despite having the areas’ councillor on the Resettlement Committee, the evictees had no information on how to apply for resettlement.

Issaskar Kaujuea, Councillor of Omatako Constituency, in whose area the evictees reside, said the visit of the lands official was a clear message that the government wants to assist the evictees.

“I am sure the report will recommend to the Resettlement Committee that those people should be resettled,” said the councillor.

He added that he would take up the matter with the Otjozondjupa regional governor on how to further assist the people with water and food as they await the next step.

“It is our responsibility to look at the water and food situation but until when I do not know,” he sad.

The workers were evicted while awaiting the courts to decide on their retrenchment after Farm Otjiku fell under new management.

Two of the workers and their children were the first ones to be evicted from the farm while five others stayed on because their case was still pending in the labour court in Otjiwarongo. But when the case was postponed to February 2006, the remaining workers, who still lived on the farm, were also evicted.

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