The Landless People’s Movement in Grootfontein have threatened to grab land in the town, a decision that was prompted by the perceived failure of the Otjozondjupa governor Otto Iipinge to receive their petition yesterday.
The group of about 40 people, undeterred by the heavy downpours, gathered outside the agricultural showgrounds where they demanded to see the governor to hand over a petition to him. The governor was reportedly on a familiarisation visit to the town to launch the Otjozondjupa Waste Management Forum, which aims at keeping the region’s five towns clean.
The police had to be called to the scene to maintain order.
The group said they are tired of the manner in which they are ignored when raising pertinent issues of land and other social ills affecting their communities.
It was supposed to be the second grievance petition to be handed over to the authorities in a span of two months. According to the group leader Moritz Gaingob they will meet over the weekend to decide on what should be done next.
“We are left with no choice now but to meet on Sunday to discuss what should be done as these people have been ignoring us. And we will gather to proceed to grab land,” said Gaingob who implied Easter Sunday would be the D-day for their grievances to be addressed.
Meanwhile, Iipinge said he was not in Grootfontein and was not consulted on the land issue and on receiving the petition.
“I cannot say anything on the matter. I just heard rumours that there are text messages circulating that there will be a demonstration. But to be honest none of these group members approached me regarding these unfolding events, but now they expected me to jump into the rain for something I am not acquainted with and properly briefed on.”
He added that some of the group are manipulating the community as they have their own hidden agendas.
“They handed the first petition to the minister, and that’s the highest authority so there’s nothing much I can say. The petition is with the minister and they should wait for their response. They jumped me in the first place and how am I supposed to be involved if the matter now lies with my superior,” asserted Iipinge.
He advised them to desist from events that spark violence. The group had informed the police in Grootfontein of their intended gathering on Sunday.
“We received a letter from the group informing us that they will have a gathering over the weekend to discuss their matter, but it was not mentioned in any part of the document that they will be grabbing land,” said Grootfontein station commander, Chief Inspector Esther Mainga.