12 July 2018

Namibia: Safari Farm Workers Stranded By the Roadside

Two workers of Waldeck Safari Farm spent a cold Tuesday night under a tree after their employer dropped them by the roadside over alleged poaching activities.

The workers - Benny Skrywer (44) and Eric Gomaxab (45) - claimed that Jacobus Briedenhann, who owns Waldeck Safari Farm on the outskirts of Windhoek, accused them of killing springbok.

Skrywer and Gomaxab were employed as drivers and handymen on the farm, which according to a website is a "hidden paradise" that offers trophy hunting adventures and the ultimate safari experience.

The two men claim that Briedehann forced them to sign resignation letters in incomprehensible English, and forced them to admit engaging in poaching activities before he dumped them on the Windhoek-Rehoboth road near Farm Aris.

Skrywer told The Namibian through an interpreter that Briedenhann told them to resign, or he would shoot them and bury their bodies in a shallow grave.

According to Skrywer, Briedenhann on Saturday stopped him from going to watch his five children participate in sports activities at Farm Aris, where they are in the boarding school.

Skrywer and Gomaxab, however, defied the order and went to Farm Aris. They only returned on Sunday, whereupon Briedenhann accused them of poaching, and dismissed them.

The two further claimed that the poaching accusations came after the farm's anti-poaching unit found a wire snare behind Skywer's house on Saturday while he was away.

"I have been working for Briedenhann for 22 years. I'm saddened that he would treat me like this. I have nowhere else to go," said Skrywer sadly.

He noted that his children might be forced out of the hostel as he no longer has money to pay for their accommodation.

Gomaxab, who had been at the farm for seven years, said: "There was no explanation given as to why I lost my job."

Briedenhann yesterday told The Namibian that some wild animals were missing on his farm, while others were found dead over the past few months.

Briedenhann said both Skrywer and Gomaxab on Tuesday admitted committing the crime, and resigned willingly after he had questioned them.

"I informed them that if they did not want to go to jail on charges of poaching, they should resign, and I would not have to go to the police with this," he claimed.

Briedenhann said he paid them their last wages before evicting them from his farm.

Skrywer and Gomaxab plan to report their dismissal to the ministry of labour.


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