Members of the San community resettled by the government on the resettlement Farm Oerwould in Oshikoto are involved in selling portions of the land to well-off and prominent individuals that are land-hungry.
Farm Oerwould, located some 50km north-east of Tsumeb in the vicinity of Tsintsabis settlement, was bought to resettle San community members as well as disadvantaged individuals, who in the bitter twist of irony are now selling the land.
Prices range from N$10 000 to N$15 000, depending on the size of the land, according to some resettled farmers who expressed concern.
They said the farm is now congested and lacks grazing, forcing many to graze their animals outside the farm alongside the road.
There is chaos, as one can no longer distinguish who are the legitimate owners and the intruders, said one of the resettled farmers. This is happening despite interventions by the Agriculture, Water and Land Reform ministry on several occasions, where such perpetrators have been issued with warning letters to desist from the illegal act but remain defiant.
It is alleged the headman sold undeveloped portions measuring 10 hectares allocated to his people and proceeded to allocate individuals in areas meant for grazing.
In recent years, the farm has been under siege from individuals from all walks of life, for as long they have money to offer to the headman or his traditional authority.
Land reform spokesperson, Chrispin Matongela confirmed the illegal sale of sections of the farm, saying the matter is out of hand as lands ministry tried in vain to halt the practice.
“I am aware that, the chief on the farm has been doing his own things, of which is illegal. That is a resettlement farm and no one is allowed to sell or allocate land. It is only the minister who is authorised to resettle people as per the Act. This is commercial land in case he (headman) thinks it is communal, even communal land cannot be sold,” he said.
“There was a time the minister himself (former minister Alfeus !Naruseb) visited the farm to address the issue, but I am surprised this is still continuing. I will therefore request for a report from the regional office to brief me on what transpired and what actions were recommended. This will guide us forward on how to address it,” he added.
New Era is reliably informed a number of recommendations were made to the regional land board committee to take actions. Among such was the eviction of some of the people who bought land, it was further recommended criminal charges be instituted as the last resort, but still it appears no action has been taken.
The issue has become a political hot potato due to the involvement of prominent businessmen and politicians who are also resettled on the farm, thus the leadership is reluctant to take action.
“It’s a fact, there is huge politics at play on that farm, that is why things are not moving. Nevertheless, the regional land committee is supposed to take action on the issue if recommendations were made, but we will relook into it again,” said Matongela.
“In the end, we lacked the political backing to effect all these. Because of political interest, they are dilly-dallying to evict as they might lose support. The Act says only the minister can resettle persons, thus it is very clear that if someone comes through the backdoor, be it through the traditional authority, that person is illegal of such action as in contravention of the Act,” added a source privy to the unfolding saga.
About 30 prominent people are said to be occupying the farm through the traditional authority.
“Due to the presence of these illegal people, the ministry is unable to issue land right letters to any of us who are legitimately resettled. This is something that has been affecting us over the years, as we can’t secure any funding or expand on our productivity since we cannot get the necessary support without the required documents,” fumed Reverend Edward Amadhila of TOV project, who has been resettled on the farm for 14 years.
2020-07-01 10:56:14 | 5 days ago