Even though government managed to absorb a huge number of the ‘struggle kids’ into its ranks, mostly into the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) and the police, the remaining 39 still camping at Okahandja Park have threatened to demonstrate if they are not recruited latest by the end of this month.
The group drastically reduced from over 100 to the remaining 39 as many got jobs in various government agencies.
The group consists mainly of women, among them five children who endure the harsh cold weather as they sleep on cardboard without mattresses.
Upon our visit to the camp yesterday, the group could be seen sunbathing, while some women breastfed and plaited their hair or were just loitering around.
“We also want to be recruited. We are just a small number left, why can’t the NDF recruit all of us? If the government does not recruit us in the NDF by end of July, then we will be forced to go and demonstrate at the Swapo office so they can see that we are serious in our quest for jobs,” they threatened.
The deadline for the NDF recruitment process was on Tuesday.
However, the group said they all submitted their application forms at the Ministry of Defence before the deadline.
The group say they do not want to destabilize peace in the country by planning a demonstration if they are not recruited by end of July, but merely want government to see the “seriousness” of their plight.
“Government must just give us jobs. We don’t want to go through demonstrations and experience death like our late comrade Frieda Ndatipo. We don’t want to disturb anyone, we just want government to stick to its promise of giving us jobs,” said Paulus Nghishihange Hivela.
Regarding their living conditions, they say nothing improved as no government official, neither their representative from the Namibian Exile Kids Association (NEKA), visits them, adding that the association’s current leaders disappointed them as well.
“We are suffering here. It’s cold and we live in constant fear of criminals and deadly snakes in this riverbed.
They slither into our makeshift, plastic shacks in search of warmth. We live like animals in the wild. Those who used to assist us with food and water in Okahandja Park are saying they are tired of helping us,” they lamented in unision.
At their camp there are no toilets and if nature calls they relieve themselves in the nearby veld while potable water is scarce.
The group moved to Okahandja Park following their forced removal in 2012 from the land they illegally occupied near the Swapo Party headquarters in Katutura.