Basson has no sympathy for Aroab farmers

27 Oct 2016 14:50pm
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 27 OCT (NAMPA) – //Kharas Governor Lucia Basson on Wednesday instructed the Aroab Village Council to find farming land at the village for the farmers who last week invaded a resettlement farm in the area.
The 25 farmers have been farming on a 1 700 hectare camp administrated by the village council for over two decades and have been applying to be resettled to a larger farm.
Last Wednesday, around nine of the farmers illegally occupied Farm Dickbush, some 45 kilometres from Aroab.
The Ministry of Land Reform recently advertised the farm and all farmers applied for the land, seeking to be resettled as a group.
Legally, however, the farm can only be occupied by one farmer.
Basson, who is also the chairperson of the //Kharas Resettlement Committee, told Nampa Wednesday after the closed-door meeting with councillors she has no sympathy for the farmers.
“They have decided to take the law into their own hands and I refuse to support that.”
Basson said she instructed the council to create a reception area at the village at which to accommodate the farmers.
“They are not my problem. We have to work together on behalf of Government to sort out this issue.”
She said the farmers’ problem was aggravated by the fact that they do not have traditional authority representation.
“These are people whose forefathers came from South Africa. Why don’t they try and associate themselves with a traditional authority so that they can be accommodated?” she asked.
Basson also slammed the farmers for sending a letter to President Hage Geingob, accusing her of ignoring their plight.
“They are lying that I have not listened to them. They expected me to go to the farm they chose to grab and to receive a petition. They should’ve approached my office to present the petition.”
The governor received a letter from the president’s office on Wednesday to explain the matter.
She told Nampa that she instructed the Aroab Village Council to make use of some of the 11 000 hectares they have available to accommodate the farmers.
Approached for comment Wednesday afternoon, spokesperson of the farmers, Gertjie Witbooi said they felt hopeless and depressed.
“We have done everything we could and we don’t know where to from here. For the governor to say that we have to find a traditional authority to which we should belong, I can only ask if that is the only way for us to become Namibians.”
As for the option of a larger camp at the village, Witbooi was not very positive about that.
“We know already that the land at the village she is recommending for us is not fit for farming and the village council is aware of this too. We will see what will happen.”
Deputy Director in the Keetmanshoop regional office of the Ministry of Land Reform, Albertus Engelbrecht told this reporter the farmers will soon be evicted.