San opposed to being resettled in groups

SKOONHEID � San communities in Omaheke Region feel the practice of resettling them on government farms in groups while members of other tribes are resettled individually is discriminatory.

This was one of the issues they complained about when they met with Urban and Rural Development Minister, Peya Mushelenga, and Deputy Minister for Marginalised Communities, Royal /Ui/o/oo, during a consultative meeting last week.

The meeting, which took place at Skoonheid, a resettlement farm in the Okorukambe Constituency, saw representatives of different San communities from around the region gathered in numbers to express their concerns on different issues affecting them.

San Chief Frederik Langman of the Skoonheid area said members of his community do not have any mandate to say and govern the farms as they remain government's property.

Where is the land where the San could freely farm livestock and grow crops without being controlled by other Namibians, the chief wanted to know.

Other views expressed regarding land included complaints that the requirement that one should own 50 cattle and 60 goats for them to be resettled, left out San citizens.

Is it because we don't have a political party that could represent us? asked a member in the audience, who said members of his community could not have such an amount of livestock without land.

Another leader representing the San in Tallismanus claimed that the Ovaherero communities in the area are charging that land in that area belongs to them [Ovaherero] alone.

If we are Namibians, where are we located in this country and where is the land for the San?

They suggested that at least five San people be resettled each year and that a farm named Helm in the region be used to resettle some of them this year.

Responding to some of the resettlement issues raised, a senior official from the Ministry of Land Reform in the region said it was not compulsory for the San to be resettled in groups. /Ui/o/oo, himself a San, was one of those resettled individually.

He, therefore, urged them to apply for farm Helm as calls for applications to be resettled in that farm are still open.

The San also complained that they are sidelined from the issue of German genocide, although human remains being repatriated from the European country include those of the San.

Responding to this issue, Mushelenga said the genocide came about because of the extermination order issued by General Lothar von Trotha, which specifically mentioned that the target of German's wrath were Ovaherero and Namas.

However, he said the government uses the phrase the term 'affected communities' as a way to recognise that killings went beyond the two tribes.

Other issues raised during the meeting include, among others, poor housing conditions for the San; ill-treatment by other communities, especially towards San farm workers; delays in delivery of food under the San Feeding Scheme; lack of water and schools at some villages as well as high unemployment rate the San community.

On his part, /Ui/o/oo said he was saddened and disappointed by the infighting within his tribe. He, therefore, urged the chiefs to work together in solving the issues affecting them and uplift the San community.

Chief Langman, who wrote a letter to President Geingob requesting the Head of State to visit his community, requested the meeting.

President delegated the two ministers to attend and report back to him.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia