By Surihe Gaomas
Governor of the Omaheke Region Laura Macleod has urged Namibians to stop further marginalization of the San through enslavement and abusing their rights.
Speaking at the mass burial of 12 members of the San on Sunday, McLeod felt the San have for a long time been subjected to poverty and unemployment. She feels these circumstances could be attributed to some Namibians who tend to look down upon this community.
She stressed the abuse of San is “appalling” and people should desist from this form of oppression on this minority group, particularly those labouring on farms in the country.
“I take this opportunity to caution those Namibian farmers who are actively and shamelessly enslaving the San, paying them peanuts and/or not paying them at all, to cease these practices immediately,” said the regional governor.
It appears most farmers fail to register their San employees with the Social Security Commission (SSC). This is in direct conflict with the country’s labour laws that clearly stipulate all Namibian workers are entitled to SSC benefits.
“This action disadvantages the San people, as they do not get benefits such as death, maternity or medical benefits from this institution. Not registering your employees is a violation of the Namibian law and I urge the Ministry of Labour to seriously follow the culprits,” she added.
Another worrying issue in the Omaheke Region and the entire country is the fact that many San workers were being chased away or dumped in nearby towns, especially when they became too sick or were unable to work anymore due to old age. This leaves them in a worse predicament as they are dumped without any kind of payment or compensation for their day-to-day survival or medical care.
“Employees discard their responsibilities towards their employees without compassion,” said the governor.
After witnessing the official handover of 20 blankets and 20 mattresses by the Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertina Amathila last Saturday, the Omaheke Governor commended this kind gesture, saying such commitment would further help integrate the marginalized San back into the mainstream society.
As part of warming up the San this winter, the donation that falls under the Deputy Premiers’ San Development Project, is meant to benefit close to 40 San hostel learners of Eiseb Block Primary School.
Welcoming the latest donation, Councillor of the Omaheke Regional Council Mati Ndjoze said the San were still the poorest of the poor when it comes to socio-economic development and therefore needed the attention of all Namibians.
“This is indeed an immediate solution to problems these people face especially against the cold weather,” said Ndjoze. After the ceremony in Gobabis, the Deputy Prime Minister undertook a similar venture at Epukiro Post 10.
Two weeks prior to this, the San Community of the Kalahari, Steinhausen and Aminuis constituencies also received similar donations.