San chief calls for partial communalisation of conservation parks

03 Oct 2018 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 03 OCT (NAMPA) – Conservation parklands where marginalised communities live should be partially declared communal areas for inhabitants, San Chief Tsamkxao Bob ‡Oma said.
In a presentation read on his behalf on Tuesday, ‡Oma said the ancestors of the indigenous minorities were once the sole occupants and original inhabitants of the land now known as Namibia, however, landlessness is one of the major challenges for the indigenous communities.
In his paper read at the second National Land Conference, he said the indigenous minorities of Namibia such as the Ovatwe, Ovatjimba, Khwe and Ovazemba continue to suffer injustices that leave them disadvantaged in varying degrees.
“Since the independence of the country, the government has made significant achievements rolling back some of the destructive legacies led by the colonial and apartheid regimes,” ‡Oma said.
However, he said some of the indigenous people are more disadvantaged than other groups in Namibia and have seen little benefit brought by independence.
The need to differentiate the protection of the land rights of the disadvantaged communities such as the San and people living with disabilities, was one of the resolutions from the 1991 Land Conference which was not implemented by Government, ‡Oma said.
He said the Bwabwata National Park was proclaimed as a national park in 2007, which effectively stripped Bwabwata inhabitants of the rights to land.
“I feel that Government has not shown differentiated protection for indigenous minorities,” he said.
The chief proposed that marginalised groups be given access to land.
“All citizens should be given access to land provided that they have regard for the customs applicable to the host communities and for the fact that priority should be given to the landless,” he said.