Gam, Eiseb Block Residents Receive National Documents (allAfrica.com)

ABOUT 4 000 Gam and Eiseb Block residents in the Otjozondjupa region will soon receive national identity documents.

The group comprises the descendants of Namibians who fled to Botswana because of persecution by the colonial government more than a century ago.

Many of them were repatriated to Namibia from 1993 and settled in the eastern part of the country.

Home affairs minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana is leading a delegation to facilitate the registration following the enactment of the Namibia Citizenship Second Special Conferment Act.

The law provides for the conferment of Namibian citizenship upon certain descendants of persons who left Namibia because of persecution.

The long overdue Namibian Citizenship Special Conferment Act 2015, which was passed in July 2015, replaces the law that prohibited citizens from acquiring national documents after the five-year life span of the Act (passed in 1991) expired in 1996.

Iivula-Iithana said ministry officials will also register newborn babies and other individuals qualifying for Namibian birth certificates, identity documents and consider issues related to services within the mandate of the ministry.

She noted that government is aware of the difficulties many of the communities are facing, especially young people who are at school and those seeking employment but do not have identity documents.

“It’s precisely why we are here; to end this misery,” Iivula-Iithana asserted.

The minister said the delay was caused by the time limit for the operation of the Namibian Citizenship Conferment Act of 1991 which only had a lifespan of five years.

“This means those who came after that period were not able to be granted citizenship even if they had applied or were to apply in the absence of a new law,” she said.

The community has expressed excitement, saying this would unlock opportunities to employment and also be able to access government services such as old-age pension grants.

Tomorrow, the team will proceed to Eiseb Block settlement to carry out the same exercise.