OTA members stage peaceful march

21 Feb 2014 21:00pm
WINDHOEK, 21 FEB (NAMPA) – A group of about 80 men and women from the OvaHerero Traditional Authority (OTA) took to the streets of Windhoek in a demonstration to air their grievances to Government on Friday.
They carried placards which amongst others read “German Special Initiative will not stop the fight for reparation”, “We reject outright the Bantustan-like 20 and 50 hectares” and “Why is the 20 and 50 hectares selective”.
Others also alleged that Government is denying their traditional leaders the right to decide on land issues.
Speaking at a media conference prior to the peaceful march at the Red Flag Commando Hall in Katutura, Chief Bethold Tjiundje of the OTA claimed that the group has been oppressed since Independence in 1990, saying its councillors in the traditional authority are not yet recognised. Allocation of land as part of Government's resettlement programme is also not fair towards the OvaHerero, he said.
“We do not know what the problem of the government is for not gazetting our councillors because councillors of other traditional authorities have been recognised. The lack of gazetting us is posing difficulties in the proper expedition of our duties as a traditional authority,” he said.
Tjiundje claimed that Government is forcing the group into enclaves of 20 and 50 hectares of land, as well as depriving its traditional leadership of its powers. He stressed that his people were also driven into communal areas by colonialism between 1923 to 1924.
If government is serious about resettling the OvaHerero, Tjiundje argued that it would be better to enlarge the communal areas. He went on to say Government is bringing back oppression through the back door, going as far as saying Government has sent the OvaHerero back into concentration camps.
Making reference to the new allocation of 50 hectares as part of the resettlement programme for Namibians, Tjiundje accused Government of not considering the people of Namibia, saying it is enforcing a homeland policy onto the people.
The homeland system which began in the 1960s was modelled on the system used in South Africa whereby black citizens were forced into independent homelands which were usually not on the most fertile soil or were in economically unproductive areas.
The new Amendment Act for Communal Land allows traditional authorities to allocate up to 50 hectares of land without the consent of the minister, while traditional authorities need the consent of the minister to allocate land above hectares.
“We have written many letters to the authorities to have our problems attended to, but to no avail. There is also a problem of communication with the government because due to the non-gazetting of our councillors, the government and its officials do not seem to recognise this authority as a bona fide and legal authority that it needs to communicate with,” he added.
The group hopes to meet with the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rurual Develoment Charles Namoloh on Monday.