San community say forgotten in the bush

22 Sep 2015 11:00am
SIBBINDA, 22 SEP (NAMPA) – A group of marginalised San people living at Kyarecan resettlement village in the Sibbinda Constituency are claiming that Government relocated them to that area without providing sustainable public services.
The community, which is made up of 100 San-speaking people, was relocated to the Waya-Waya area from the Macaravan informal settlement at Katima Mulilo in 2011.
During a field visit to the area, Kyarecan village headman Jim Ben told Nampa that Government has abandoned them in the “bush”, where they now face rampant poverty, unemployment, lack of clean water, electricity, and health care.
Ben explained that although the water and electricity lines pass through their village, they are not benefiting from it, adding the community also does not have access to drought aid distribution for as long as four months.
“When we were relocated four years ago, we were promised brick houses with running water and toilets, but this has not been the case. We are left in the bushes to fend for ourselves. We do not have livestock nor farming implements to sustain ourselves,” said Ben.
He added that the 5 000 litre water tank in which they are provided clean drinking water three times a week, has been broken since March 2014, while a kindergarten project the community started in 2012 has since stopped operating due to lack of infrastructure and Government assistance.
Ben further added that most elderly women and men at the village are not receiving pension as they do not have Namibian identification cards, and a disabled minor boy is also not accessing his grant from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.
“The community is accessing salty water from a borehole, which is unbearable to drink. The only assistance Government rendered us was the zinc roofing on our mud structure houses, which are also now falling apart as we do not have materials to rebuild them,” he said.
Ben further claimed that Sibbinda Constituency Councillor Ignatius Chunga has only visited the village twice since it was set up, and that the San Community Development Officer in the Office of the President, Esdrus Kaseba is also rarely taking up their plights.
“We feel neglected. Some community members have since abandoned their houses and moved to town, where they are living off foods discarded at the dumpsite. Some women have resorted to selling their bodies at night to make a living.
“Of those left behind in the village, many have gone back to the nomadic lifestyles of hunting and gathering fruits in the wild. We are suffering and need help,” Ben said.
When contacted, Kaseba’s mobile phone went unanswered, while Chunga’s mobile phone was switched off.