CORRECTION: Aroab farmers snub eviction order

31 Jan 2017 13:00pm

Aroab farmers snub eviction order
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 31 JAN (NAMPA) – Small-scale farmers from Aroab illegally occupying resettlement farm Dickbusch in that district, are turning a blind eye to an eviction order served on Friday.
The notices were handed over by //Kharas Regional Chief of the Ministry of Land Reform, Albertus Engelbrecht and Messenger of the Court, Pieter van Heerden to 11 of about 25 protesting farmers.
The farmers are from the Aroab Town Council camps, where they have been farming for over 20 years.
During this time, they have repeatedly applied to be resettled on various farms in the Aroab District.
They also applied for Dickbusch last year, but were disqualified because the farmers sought to be resettled as a group which is not permitted in the Resettlement Programme of that ministry.
Frustrated, the farmers in October invaded the farm and petitioned various stakeholders, including //Kharas Governor and Chairperson of the //Kharas Resettlement Committee, Lucia Basson and Keetmanshoop Rural Councillor, Elias Kharuxab.
They said it was unfair that farms in the south are allocated to beneficiaries from other regions at the cost of regional landless inhabitants.
The two units of Dickbusch, meanwhile, have been allocated to Zikizee Mutenge from Omaheke and Ottilie Shidolo from Ohangwena.
The Aroab farmers said they, along with Koës farmers, were left out of the Resettlement Programme, as the two districts do not have traditional authority (TA) representation.
Basson confirmed this, saying recommendations from TAs were important in the allocation of farms.
The farmers’ spokesperson, Gertjie Witbooi, told Nampa on Tuesday they regard the late notice as illegal.
The notice is dated 25 November and they were supposed to be out on 25 December 2016.
“We reject Engelbrecht’s verbal instruction that we should be out by 27 February and have forwarded the notices to the Legal Assistance Centre for advice.”
He said the farmers “will fight till the end” to remain on Dickbusch or to be resettled elsewhere in the area.
“We will not go. The other farmers who are not yet on Dickbusch will also come and we will erect accommodation facilities as well,” Witbooi said.
Engelbrecht told Nampa the law will take its course if the farmers fail to vacate by 27 February.
“It will be ugly,” Engelbrecht said, adding that if they refuse to leave, they will be removed by force.