The Namibia Farmworkers Union (Nafwu) general secretary Rocco Nguvauva has issued a stern warning to farm owners subsequent to reports that some employers have been refusing to sign the generational farmworkers evaluation form.
Following the second national land conference in 2018, one of the resolutions taken was for a policy to be implemented to protect generational farmworkers by the farmer providing alternative residence or a portion of the land to such workers to be developed.
The generational farmworkers evaluation form is a form aimed at determining whether a certain farmworker was born, lives and works on a particular farm.
It has a part which needs to be signed by a farm owner in order for a certain farmworker to be eligible for registration as a generational farmworker thus getting preference when applying for resettlement.
Nguvauva on Wednesday said his office is inundated with complaints from farmworkers about some farm owners who are refusing to sign the generational farmworkers evaluation form.
An estimated half of the roughly 50 000 farmworkers employed in Namibia during the height of the apartheid era considered themselves generational farmworkers.
“My office has learned with shock that there are farm owners that are refusing to complete the forms. I am urging generational farmworkers to report those farm owners who are refusing to sign such forms to my office so that we can deal with them,” Nguvauva said.
At the opening of the land conference in 2018, President Hage Geingob said the plight of farmworkers was of great concern. “Legislative interventions have been developed to protect the rights of farmworkers, but the emerging issue of generational farmworkers needs our collective consideration.”
He said generational farmworkers are expelled from land on which they were born and are dumped onto road corridors.
“All resettlement programmes should pay special attention to the plight of generational farmworkers who themselves are inherently landless, more so when the farm they lived on all their lives changes ownership,” Geingob said.
Generational farmworkers are mainly from minority language communities, laboured on farms over multiple generations as a result of their having no access to land elsewhere and depended on farmers to meet their most basic needs: a place to stay, food to eat, and water to drink.