Relief for Evicted Farm Workers

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By Wezi Tjaronda

WINDHOEK

The evicted farm workers of Farm Otjiku can now sigh with relief that interventions they so much needed in the four years they have been on the roadside are coming their way.

The former workers, who were evicted from the farm when it came under new management will not only be resettled but will get some of their other needs taken care of as well.

Yesterday, Omatako Regional Councilor Issaskar Kaujeua, under whom the workers fall said the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, had identified a farm in the constituency on which they would be resettled.

“We applied for resettlement and we succeeded,” he said, adding that they may be resettled as early as March.

A team of officials from the Namibia Red Cross Society also traveled to the area, some 100 km north of Okahandja to assess the needs of the community. The Deputy Director of the Emergency Management Unit in the Office of the Prime Minster, Gabriel Kangowa also plans to visit the group next week for his office to come up with appropriate interventions.

The D2404 that branches off the Okahandja-Otjiwarongo road has been home to scores of members of the Mbauruma, Kahere and Kondio families since more than three years ago.

In November last year, SWANU President Usutaije Maamberua visited the families after learning about their plight.

His findings were that since they were evicted from the farm, they have problems with water, grazing, food, housing and sanitation, health and schooling.

The evictees have no source of water and sometimes use dirty river water if they cannot get it from Good Samaritans.

A water carrier provided by the Otjozondjupa Regional Council some time back has not been in use for a long time now.

Godfried Mbauruma, a spokesperson of the families yesterday said water, food and diarrhoea among kids remained their biggest problems.

“We received food for the last time early last year until now. We still have no water. If passers by do not bring us water we drink dirty water from the river,” he said.

Maamberua and his team also learnt that the families live in make shift homes ” which are worse than shacks”.

“The accommodation of these people can hardly be called houses as they are worse than shacks. Partly made of old canvas, corrugated iron sheets and plastic pieces and any other rubbish material they can lay their hands on,” said Maamberua in a report he forwarded to Ministries of Lands and Resettlement, Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Education, Health and Social Services and also to the Red Cross and Emergency Management Unit.

Yesterday Red Cross Secretary General Dorkas Kapembe-Haiduwa told New Era her office has been in contact with Swanu until a few days ago and decided to conduct an assessment and offer blankets if need be.

“If need be, we will distribute blankets and if there are any other needs, we will discuss it and see how we will go about it,” she said.

Maamberua called on government institutions to assist the people urgently to avert more suffering.

He recommended that the government relocates them in the vicinity of Otjiwarongo, which is close to their children’s school; provide them with food and water on a weekly basis; cancel their school fees until their situation has improved and also provide them with mobile health services at least once a week.

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