THE Karas Swapo Party regional coordinator, Mathew Mumbala, has called on Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa to reinstate 10 small-scale grape farmers along the Orange River who were evicted from their plots in September.
The government obtained a High Court eviction order against the farmers after it had terminated a lease agreement with them, claiming they had breached several conditions of the agreement.
The standoff between the ministry and the farmers stemmed from the farmers’ refusal to sell their produce through a government-appointed service provider, Cool Fresh Namibia.
Eviction threats against the farmers started in 2010 when they started to directly sell their produce to a Dutch-based international buyer instead of to Cool Fresh Namibia.
The farmers claimed that they earned less by selling grapes through the middleman. The government and Cool Fresh Namibia subsequently came up with a tripartite agreement to heal the rift with the farmers.
However, the farmers rejected this agreement too, which they claimed was not beneficial to them because it gave total control of their cash flow and business decisions to Cool Fresh Namibia.
Officiating at the Karas Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) regional executive meeting at Keetmanshoop on Saturday, Mumbala called on Mutorwa to revoke the evictions immediately.
“What is Cool Fresh providing? Government is providing all services. All equipment used to cultivate crops on the plots belongs to Government,” Mumbala said angrily.
According to Mumbala, the small-scale farmers were evicted without any valid reason when it was harvesting time.
Meanwhile, Karas SPYL regional secretary Lydia De Bryn has condemned the murder of Alta Thirion (63) at her home in the town’s Noordhoek residential area last Tuesday.
“Where are we safe nowadays if your house is not safe? What have we [women] done, we do not deserve to be killed like a springbok or kudu,” said De Bryn.
Thirion died of head injuries in the intensive care unit of the Katutura State Hospital a day after a robber attacked her in her home.
The suspect in the Thirion murder, who is known to the police, is still at large.