29 January 2013

Namibia: Satansloch Eviction Drama Continues

Windhoek — The residents of the farming community of Satansloch near Daan Viljoen Game Park say conditions have worsened for them, even after the High Court ordered the eviction of 36 households whose presence there was declared unlawful.

Hannes Jacobs and Jeff Uirab, who in a previous report complained that the Chief of the /Khomanin Traditional Authority, Josephat Gawa-!nab, had settled more people on the farm, despite the dangers of overgrazing and drought, now claims that the number of households on the property has soared to 40.

Jacobs told New Era that at least 12 households have now settled next to the road leading to Daan Viljoen. "Our livestock is being stolen. We demand that the City of Windhoek does something, because it's becoming chaotic," Uirab said, adding that Juliana Gawa-!nas, the deputy chief of the /Khomanin Traditional Authority and also daughter of the chief, was apparently bringing in more people to settle at Satansloch.

Jacobs said Gawa-!nas is using the name of the mayor of the City of Windhoek, Agnes Kafula, claiming that she (the mayor) apparently gave her the go-ahead to settle more people at Satansloch. However, Gawa-!nas dismissed claims that they had brought in new people and said that those who settled there form part of the group of 36 who were asked to vacate the area, but who have not yet found a place to settle.

"Those people are part of the list," she said, adding that former Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Jerry Ekandjo, apparently allowed the families to stay on until they were provided with permanent residence somewhere else.

The deputy chief claimed that both Jacobs and Uirab, who were making the allegations are not even originally from Satansloch. According to her, Jacobs is only married into one of the families resident at Satansloch, while Uirab just moved there recently.

"I don't know what their problem is. When they moved to the cattle posts, we were just quiet, now they are starting again," she said, adding that all those who live at the farm can be considered illegal squatters, because none of them have received a mandate to settle at Satansloch. A judgment delivered in the Hight Court on June 4, 2012 ordered the eviction of 36 households, but most of them still remain on the farm. The majority of the people who settled at Satansloch in 2010 were elderly farm labourers who were evicted from nearby farms.

The /Khomanin Traditional Authority expressed shock at the impending eviction and treatment of the landless in general. "We the /Khomanin clan are hereby shocked and disappointed by the City of Windhoek and government's careless and very arrogant handling of the land issue and the land-wide evictions of farm workers from farms and settlement areas, where they were born, especially after their productive and working lives are over," reads a statement from the group.

They also claim that the authorities are unsympathetic towards poor citizens whose properties they destroyed with bulldozers, while evicting them from open spaces and in cities, especially in Windhoek and Keetmanshoop.

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