Landless farmers face eviction in Gobabis…LPM pleads for ministerial intervention

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Landless generational farmers and farm dwellers are on the brink of disaster as the Gobabis Town Council moves forward with plans to enforce eviction by today.

The eviction, sanctioned under the provisions of the Public and Environment Health Act of 2015, section 59, subsections (h) and (d), has sparked concerns and calls for immediate intervention.

Joyce Muzengua, representing the human rights desk of the Landless People’s Movement (LPM), highlighted the plight of the marginalized community, stating that.

“This demographic group has become a highly marginalized, mostly unemployed underclass, migrating into informal settlements on the outskirts of Gobabis, relying on the economic means of the few animals they have acquired.”

This issue traces its roots back to the dawn of independence when private land was sold to the state, leading to widespread urban migration over the past 30 years.

Muzengua said that despite resolutions from the first and second National Land Conferences acknowledging the urgency of these matters, the pleas of landless farmers for access to land seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

She further implored Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein, to urgently intervene with the Gobabis Town Council and extend the eviction date.

“We know of several farms that lay idle in the Omaheke region, particularly the Witsand parcel. Thus, we implore your immediate intervention to make provision for the landless farmers,” she pleaded.

Earlier this month, the Gobabis Municipality issued a notice dated January 9, 2024, citing an ongoing upgrading program in specific areas of the town.

Chief Executive Officer Sofia Eises, of the municipality, emphasised the importance of residents cooperating by promptly vacating their animals.

“Considering the above, we kindly request that all residents who are currently keeping animals within the town limits cooperate by promptly vacating their animals. This is essential to ensure the smooth and unhindered progress of the upgrading process,” Eises stated.

Moreover, LPM warns that landless farmers will resort to grabbing land on any idle farm in the Omaheke region, continuing their farming activities until the ministry addresses their concerns.

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