Khorixas residents of Donkerhoek informal settlement claim they are surviving on animal feed, which they cook to eat in the absence of drought relief food. The shocking claim was allegedly made by Natalie !Nawases, a mother of two children, during a community meeting organised by the Ada Khaibasen committee at Eddie Bowe Primary School hall last Sunday.
Cecil !Ganeb, a community activist who attended the meeting and brought the matter to the attention of New Era Weekend, said he didn’t know exactly what type of animal feed the woman and her family ate. “She told the meeting ‘I am one of the people who eat animal feed. I prepare and eat it,’” !Ganeb narrated to New Era Weekend.
New Era Weekend went in search of !Nawases and managed to locate her house in the settlement. She was however not at home, attending a prayer meeting at a local church, according to her neighbours.
New Era Weekend also spoke to Jocobeth Futika, the chairperson of Ada Khaibasen committee, who said that !Nawases’s claims prompted the committee to seek an urgent meeting with the special adviser to the Governor of Kunene for Kunene south, John //Khamuxab, to brief him on the concerns raised in the meeting, especially on residents eating animal feed.
Futika described the meeting with //Khamuxab as fruitful. He said the regional council officials have promised the Ada Khaibasen committee that the concerns raised would be addressed with the required urgency.
When contacted for comment //Khamuxab confirmed that the meeting took place with the Ada Khaibasen committee and that he would urgently dispatch food provisions to the area.
“Right now I am driving back to Opuwo and would intervene [as soon as possible]. I will dispatch the maize meal donated by Trustco,” //Khamuxab said when contacted for comment last week Tuesday.
Governor of Kunene Angelika Muharukua, when contacted for comment, said that she was not aware of people eating animal feed and would ask the regional council chairperson Julius Kaujova to investigate the matter.
However, the intervention by //Khamuxab came a little too late for some of the residents, who accuse Khorixas constituency councillor Elias Xoagub of dereliction of his duties as a councillor.
“There is nothing that the government or Khorixas constituency councillor does. In Erongo people received assistance through the governor’s office but here especially in Kunene south, people whose livelihoods depend on livestock, eat animal feed because animals are dying and they have no source of food,” said a furious !Ganeb.
– This story was first published in New Era Weekend.