Farm Evictees Given Farming Unit

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By Wezi Tjaronda

WINDHOEK

After close to three years of living along the D2404 road off the Okahandja-Otjiwarongo road, evicted farm workers of Farm Otjiku have been allotted a farming unit.

The nine and their dependants were evicted from Otjku – 93 km from Okahandja – in June 2005 after the new farm owner failed to get the farm workers off his farm.

The workers claimed at the time that the previous owner never told them about their fate and just gave each one of them a package of between N$1 000 and N$2 800 as money for boots and overalls that they had not received over the years and not severance packages.

The evictees include Eva Kondiuo, Maria Kondiuo, Abel Heita, Angelika Kondiuo, Niklaas Kondiuo, Gottfried Mbauruma, Essegiel Kahere and Manfried Kondiuo.

Mbauruma had worked on the farm for 27 years, while others worked for between 17 and 25 years.

From that time until now, the workers say they have survived on little food, have lost 72 goats and have had most of their belongings damaged by rain.
“We have had many problems with little help. Some of us were shot at and assaulted and accused of stealing,” said their spokesperson Gottfried Mbauruma last week.

A letter from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, written on March 20, 2008, said the workers had been allotted a farming unit on Farm Brabant 403 Unit A in Otjozondjupa. The farm measures 1 731 hectares and is about 180 km from Farm Otjiku.

Mbauruma, who travelled with the others to view the farm last Thursday, told New Era they were happy with the farm except that there was no water.

“The farm is okay but the borehole is broken and we don’t know when it will be repaired,” he said.

Mbauruma did not know when they would move but the letter stipulates that the new occupants should report at the resettlement unit farm within 30 days of receipt of the letter.

Yvonne Kahere, Willem Kondiuo and Aquila Hengua said they were happy finally to move to a place they could call their own.

“There is no other way. This river that is full now will dry up and we will be looking around again for water for the animals and ourselves. It is better to go,” said Yvonne.

However, the others will be moving while uncertain about whether the case that is still pending at the Otjiwarongo Labour Court will be resolved or not.

Mbauruma said authorities handling the case had failed to solve the case when the workers were close to Otjiwarongo and did not see how it would be finalised in their absence.

“We are worried about what will happen to the case when we are gone away from here. We need to know will happen next,” he added.

They are also worried about the long distance that high school going children will travel to and from school during the holidays and out-weekends.

When they have finally moved, Mbauruma said, they would need assistance to rebuild their lives.

“We will need transport to help us move and iron-sheets to build houses,” said he.

The evictees and their dependants are about 80 in total and together they have 250 goats and sheep, 100 cattle, 13 donkeys and four horses.

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