Pensioners Face Eviction From Grootfontein Farm

A group of elderly people in Grootfontein want government’s urgent intervention after a farm on which they were staying was allegedly given to an individual that already owns a private farm.

They say the farmer, who benefited unfairly at their exclusion, already received a farm under the government resettlement scheme in 2008.

Farm Arcadia, situated 60 km outside Grootfontein on the road to Tsumeb in the Abenab area, has been given to one Lazarus Katjimune.

The Ministry of Land Reform allocated the farm after publishing a public notice in the media that a period of seven days given for any objections regarding the allocation had elapsed.

Spokesperson of the group Gabriel Hoeseb says in 2009 the group that lived on the farm was arrested after Katjimune accused them of trespassing while they made a gentleman’s agreement that they should resolve the issue regarding Katjimune’s acquisition of the land.

Elders in the group, some as old as 77, complained that their livestock have since been stolen and others have to use their monthly pension to pay rent at other farms to keep their livestock alive.

“Why is someone that already owns a farm getting another one through the resettlement programme? Are we not entitled to farming land just because we are old?” one of the uprooted elders asked in an interview with New Era.

Hoeseb complained that it was unfair that those with private farms are being accommodated under the resettlement programme while their group of nine elderly people has been uprooted.

“Even the ministry of lands knows our difficulties, even the acting director of regional programme implementation, Ndiyapuki Nghituwamata, knows about us, but she gave the farms to people with farms already. She gave land to people that have,” he said.

According to members of the group, when they approached the newly appointed governor of Otjozondjupa, Otto Ipinge, he referred them to the media.

“He said we can go to the media if we want, so that’s what we are doing,” said Wilfried Goachab, the oldest member of the group.

The farm in question is 1 450 hectares big and was lying idle before the group moved there.

Documents in possession of New Era show that the recipients being resettled on the farms near Grootfontein already have farms.

Vipuira Kapuuo another recipient of Aunnes Wes 288 resettlement farm already has a farm called Voouruit also in Rietfontein area number 1058.

Efforts to get comment from Katjimune and Kapuuo were in vain.

However, spokesperson at the Ministry of Land Reform Chrispin Matongela said the ministry through the objections sent realised that those allocated resettlement farms already have private farms. “Yes, this is the reason why we seek objections. It is only through these objections that we see these things,” elaborated Matongela.

Matongela confirmed that the ministry would look at a formidable way to resolve the issue, as consultations have to take place now that discrepancies have been detected.

Source : New Era