New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Dispute delays reburial of Auchab family

Dispute delays reburial of Auchab family

2024-02-14  Eveline de Klerk

Dispute delays reburial of Auchab family

SWAKOPMUND - The remains of GodFriendine and Johannes Auchab and their two children who were exhumed last month, have still not been reburied. 

They were exhumed approximately 10km outside the mining town of Karibib on Okawayo Farm to make way for gold explorations as part of the Twin Hills project. 

The burial was expected to take place on 25 January in Karibib, but the family and Osino have not reached an agreement on the demands made by the family. New Era understands that the family is demanding between N$5 million to N$30 million, jobs as well as scholarships from the mine, resulting in the delay of the reburial. Osino was offering the family N$800 000. 

The mine last month exhumed five graves which are over 50 years old. The remains of the fifth grave were already reburied.

A close relative of the Auchab family, Hans Stramis, yesterday confirmed that the burial has not taken place yet due to ongoing negotiations. 

“Yes, we have not finalised the reburial due to the ongoing negotiations. However, the lawyer is currently dealing with it, so I must refer you to her,” he said.

CEO of Osino mine, Heye Duan, said they have not received any constructive and unanimous feedback from the family, other than two or three threatening legal letters demanding different things, and with the different lawyers not talking to each other. 

“It seems highly unlikely that we will be able to get agreement from the different family factions, and the only resolution will be the respectful reburial of the remains in Karibib, as always intended,” he said. 

Dunn added that they will give the family a limited period to come back to them with their unanimous response, “failing that, we will proceed to bury the remains in due course, in line with the requirements and request from the National Heritage Council (NHC)”.

 He said Osino sent a letter to this effect to various family members on 14 January 2024, with a follow-up letter on 18 January 2024.

“On 19 January 2024, Osino received a letter from lawyer Norman Tjombe, to which Osino replied through our lawyer on 22 January 2024. No reply has been received from Tjombe yet,” he stated.

 In the meantime, he observed that the unknown remains which were also exhumed were reburied in the Karibib cemetery on 25 January 2024 with Nambob, Alma Nankela (archaeologist) and Lenishwa Engelbrecht (NHC)).

Dunn said on 02 February, they received a letter from another lawyer, Sylvia Kahengombe and subsequently had a meeting with her on 6 February 2024 to understand her requests, which reiterated the point that the family wants to get a significant amount of money from Osino.

Osino Resources’ community liaison officer Laschandre Coetzee earlier indicated that the company has been following legal procedures.

She acknowledged the distress experienced by the descendants and the public, but pointed out a historical precedent of grave relocation in Namibia and elsewhere. 

“As part of the company’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and permitting process, four historical graves were discovered during an archaeological specialist study. These graves, older than 50 years, fall under the NHC’s mandate, justifying their exhumation and reburial in accordance with Namibian heritage legislation and the Burials and Ordinance Act of 1966,” Coetzee said. 

She emphasised that the process was conducted with utmost care and professionalism by a specialist team, and that they indeed have been in consultation with the direct descendants of the deceased over the last year or so, to get their unanimous input and guidance. 

Meanwhile, questions posed to both Tjombe and Kahengombe remained unanswered yesterday.


2024-02-14  Eveline de Klerk

Share on social media