By Michael Liswaniso OPUWO A San family that has been camping on the premises of the Kunene Regional Council for two weeks after being exploited by an NDF soldier who failed to pay them for work done on his communal farm, has finally been transported back to the Kavango region. The family was taken back to their village in Kavango on Wednesday. "I am very happy to be heading back to Kavango to be re-united with my family. I also would like to thank the Kunene Regional Council and other good Samaritans for their support," said 45-year-old Johannes Mukuke, the leader of the group who spoke in Rukwangali through an interpreter. "Regional council bought us some foodstuffs for the trip, I am very grateful," said Joseph Kanjimi who spoke in Silozi. The family found itself between a rock and hard place after enduring more than eight months of suffering at a village called Oruhona, 50 kilometres north of Opuwo. They ended up at Oruhona after an NDF member whom they only know by the name 'Kavari' employed them as labourers at his cattle post where they were to earn an undisclosed amount of money from him monthly. To date 'Kavari' has not paid them despite months of hard labour on his farm and because the group could no longer withstand the pangs of hunger and fearing that one of them might succumb to starvation, they had to walk from Oruhona to Opuwo. While in Opuwo, the group walked 15 kilometres on foot to a place called Alfa where they had to endure more suffering without formal shelter, food and blankets. At Alfa they slept under a tree for a month and could only live on handouts from good Samaritans who gave food to their children occasionally. It was at Alfa where the group was advised to approach the police who directed them to the regional council. Council bought food for them and managed to facilitate their safe return to their home village in Kavango. The regional council acted swiftly given the fact that the suffering family is from the vulnerable group of the society and thus played a notable social responsibility, according to Thuys Kuuoko who has facilitated the exploited San family's return. Kunene Regional Council availed transport that dropped the group in Otjiwarongo where they were picked up by a vehicle from the Kavango Regional Council. Meanwhile, sources indicated that 'Kavari' was spotted in town some days ago and was summoned by an official from the newly opened labour offices at Opuwo. He reportedly denied any wrong-doing saying that he managed to do his part contrary to what the group had said. "He said the group was no longer even staying at his homestead, but you know human beings even when they are on the wrong side, they will try by all means to clear themselves because here we are even working with the vulnerable group of society, people who are not educated and their literacy level is very poor ..." bemoaned one source. Chief Control Officer for General Services at the Kavango Regional Council, John Kantana, confirmed the group's safe arrival in their home region yesterday. However, even in Kavango, the family endures similar suffe- ring because they hea-vily depend on family members who are pensioners and others who are on Government relief programmes.
2008-06-20 00:00:00 10 years ago