THE Ministry of Lands and Resettlement is planning to resettle about 140 Hai-//Om San people squatting on the farm Tsumore on a different farm after a blunder by ministry officials denied them occupancy of the farm.
The officials overlooked a crucial provision that aims to empower previously landless people when they failed to recommend that former farmworkers of Tsumore should be granted the first option to be resettled there once the government acquired it.
This led to the intervention of the minister of lands and resettlement, Alpheus !Naruseb, who expressed disappointment at the oversight.
Tsumore was acquired by the government in April 2007. It measures 2 439 hectares and is located 20 km north of Tsumeb in Oshikoto Region.
The farm is demarcated into two units measuring 1 039 hectares (Unit A) and 1 400 hectares (Unit B) - both suitable for animal and crop production.
The spokesperson of the ministry, Chrispin Matongela, told The Namibian that the two units were allocated to Gervasius Tshiguuo (Unit A) and Clemens Joseph (Unit B).
The more than 140 Hai-//Om squatters are now living in about 20 houses on Tshiguuo's unit of the farm.
Matongela said only some of these people are former farmworkers, while others were employed by the now-defunct Tsumeb Corporation Limited (TCL) copper mine and the rest are believed to be relatives of the first two groups who settled there after the government acquired the farm.
At a meeting held on February 17 2013 with representatives of the two resettlement beneficiaries and the Hai-//Om squatters, !Naruseb was informed that Tshiguuo and Joseph wanted the squatters off the farm.
Matongela said the beneficiaries listed overcrowding, broken water installations and a lack of farming implements and start-up capital as their main problems.
Meanwhile, the Hai-//Om settlers told the minister that they were being denied water by the new owner of the farm Tsumore.
Lake Otjikoto, which was declared a national monument in 1972, is situated on this farm and has been run as a tourist attraction since the middle of last year.
The new management leasing the site from the government is demanding a monthly payment of N$70 from those squatters who have some form of income, while the unemployed are expected to pay N$50 a month.
The Hai-//Om also complained about veld fires that have destroyed the fences on the farm, resulting in their livestock roaming into neighbouring farms and consequently being confiscated by those farms' owners.
Matongela said the ministry would look into the problems the beneficiaries and the Hai-//Om community experience with livestock and water points.
The ministry will also prioritise the completion of a policy on the contentious issue of the burial of relatives by people who are living on resettlement farms.