Deputy minister’s son in fight over water

31 Aug 2016 15:50pm
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 31 AUG (NAMPA) - Two farmers resettled on neigbouring farms in the Hardap Region are at loggerheads over the use of water on one of the farms.
Adam Baisako is based on Farm Kroonhofwes 154 (Unit B) and Gavin Boois on Farm Kroonhofwes 154 (Unit A) in the Maltahöhe District.
Baisako accuses Boois of denying him access to water points located on Boois’ farm.
A long-standing row recently led to Baisako’s wife, Hanziena, laying charges of assault against Boois and workers on his farm.
The incident allegedly happened on 19 August when Hanziena went to Boois’ farm to collect water while the two farmers were attending a lands symposium in Mariental headlined by Deputy Minister of Land Reform Bernadus Swartbooi.
“While the two of us were at the meeting, my wife went to Boois’ farm to collect water only to be assaulted, humiliated and insulted by three of the workers on that farm,” Baisako related to Nampa early this week.
He said that he and Boois agreed that he could collect water after a one-week standoff when the Baisako family were prohibited from collecting water on the farm.
“Boois did not inform his workers that my wife could enter and I hold him responsible for the assault. They strangled my wife and slapped her,” an upset Baisako said.
On 21 August, Boois in turn laid charges of trespassing and intrusion against the Baisako family.
An officer at the Maltahöhe Police Station confirmed the counter charges.
The farms, measuring over a combined 10 000 hectares, used to be one farm before it was bought by the Ministry of Land Reform and divided into two.
Both farmers have been operating on the land since 2010.
Baisako said the bulk of the water points are on the section occupied by Boois, who is the son of Deputy Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Priscilla Beukes.
Baisako is a former regional commander in the Namibian Police.
A copy of a ministerial allotment letter availed to Nampa indicates that resettled farmers are obliged to share water resources with farmers resettled on the same land.
The letter signed by former lands minister Alpheus !Naruseb states that a breach on the conditions of allotment may result in forfeiture of an allocated farm.
“The two boreholes on my farm dried up years ago and Boois has more than four water points. I have been collecting water for our farm households and animals from Boois’ farm since then as per the regulations stipulated for resettled farmers, but he treats me like a beggar,” Baisako further said.
He said he was tired of the situation and challenged the ministry to solve the water problems on his farm.
“I am not the only resettled farmer in the Hardap Region struggling with a lack of water. There is one farm in the Daweb Constituency that has 41 households sharing one waterhole. Every year, the ministry tells us there is no money. We continue to suffer while they fold their hands.”
Gotlieb Elifas, Acting Deputy Director in the ministry’s regional office at Mariental confirmed on Monday that he was aware of Baisako’s complaints.
“I am informed about his water problems and the differences between him and Boois, but I cannot comment further,” he said.
Attempts to get comment from Boois proved futile. Messages and calls to Boois’ mobile phone over three days went unanswered.
Baisako said he may consider suing Boois for damages suffered by both his wife and his livestock.
He is also challenging the ministry to resolve the water problems on his farm.
“The ministry should come with answers to the resettled community,” he said.