By Catherine Sasman
A delegation of 25 Nama traditional authority leaders and chiefs led by Karas Regional Governor, David Boois, met President Hifikepunye Pohamba yesterday at the new State House where they expressed concern about what they consider exclusion of the people of the South in mainstream social and economic life.
The leaders of the South had requested to meet the President, following an earlier meeting in Keetmanshoop with Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Abraham Iyambo, and Minister of Mines and Energy, Errki Nghitima, as well as mining companies in the South.
Salmaan Jacobs, Chief Regional Executive of the Karas Region, and part of the delegation’s technical team, told New Era yesterday that the leaders felt that the people of the South are “neglected in many ways” 18 years after independence.
“Nama leaders have been at the forefront of resisting colonialism and culturally and traditionally, the people of the South have suffered a lot and lost properties and lives,” said Jacobs.
He said areas highlighted during the meeting were the leaders’ request for resources to be availed to the region to develop their lost culture and through that to restore dignity and pride.
According to Jacobs, the leaders also demanded greater stakeholding in the mineral wealth of the South, through, for example, procurement of goods by mining companies in the South.
“It was felt that both Government and the private sector should involve the people of the South and bring technical schools and scholarships to the Karas Region,” said Jacobs.
He said the leaders further proposed that a monument, to be declared a national heritage site, be built at Shark Island where countless Namas, Hereros and San people perished during the colonial period.
The traditional authorities also proposed that they should manage the site as co-owners with the Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
Jacobs said the President responded “favourably” to the concerns of the leaders, saying all people should be brought into the mainstream.