Aroab councillors react

30 Oct 2016 13:00pm
AROAB, 30 OCT (NAMPA) – Several Aroab Village councillors on Friday expressed dismay over a meeting they had last Wednesday with //Kharas Governor Lucia Basson and other regional government authorities on protesting Aroab small-scale farmers.
Basson instructed the councillors in that meeting to find land on village grounds for the farmers who nearly two weeks ago resorted to unlawfully occupying a resettlement farm.
Swapo Party councillor Annelien Vilander said she felt “bullied” in the meeting.
“They interrupted us when we tried to speak and made us feel as if we are not Namibians,” she told Nampa on the sidelines of an award ceremony at the village.
According to Vilander, Basson said the Aroab people came from South Africa and questioned why the farmers wanted to demand land 26 years after independence and in her time as governor.
“We are Namibians in a free land where we vote as citizens and have rights. It hurts me that she excludes us as if we are not a part of the region and of the country,” Vilander said.
Council chairperson Arrie Steenkamp from the DTA of Namibia said it was wrong for the authorities to try and force the Aroab Village Council to solve the farmers’ problem.
“This is a government problem, not ours. We can resettle them on a larger portion of the town lands for a short while, but that will become a problem in future when we want to expand the village,” he said.
The council apparently plans to create a game farm and a lodge to accommodate tourists that pass through the village into Namibia.
Aroab is situated 40 kilometres from the Klein Manasse border post that leads into South Africa.
Councillor Wouter van Wyk of the Rally for Democracy and Progress rejected Basson’s suggestion that the community, who does not have a traditional authority (TA), should try to be accommodated by other TAs in the region.
“Many of the people in the region’s TAs are already fighting for land. I asked in the meeting why these people would be willing to accommodate us,” Van Wyk said.
During the award ceremony, the village council received acknowledgements for good governance and for being the local authority that maintains its fire truck the best.