Aroab farm occupiers face eviction
//Karas Governor Lucia Basson says the law will deal with Aroab farmers, who reportedly moved onto a government farm illegally with their animals.
About 20 farmers last Thursday moved their animals to Farm Dickbusch, 45 kilometres west of Aroab, and are demanding to be resettled on that farm as a group, saying they will not go anywhere until an amicable solution is reached.
Speaking to New Era after an emergency meeting with regional councillors and Koës and Aroab local authority personnel on Wednesday, Basson said the meeting resolved to let the law take its course. Basson said the farmers’ stay at the farm would soon come to an end, saying all procedures were followed by the relevant authorities and the farmers will soon be served with an eviction order.
“During the meeting we agreed that the law will follow its course and we’re just waiting on the eviction order and then they will be evicted,” she said, adding that government cannot allow people to grab land and that every individual that wants land must apply and wait to be resettled procedurally.
Basson, who is also the chairperson of the //Karas regional resettlement committee, also spoke out against the group’s demand that they be resettled as a group, saying this will never be allowed, as it brings more social problems, although she could not elaborate on that. “We will never support any group resettlement in this region. It brings chaos and problems,” she said.
Asked if individuals from the group will receive preferential treatment from the land resettlement committee as far as farm allocation is concerned, she said the committee allocates farms to people that meet the requirements and no application will receive any special treatment. “Whoever applies and qualifies will be recommended, so they won’t be given any preferential treatment at all,” she indicated.
The farmers are adamant that they won’t vacate the farm until a reasonable solution is found, stating they have nowhere else to go with their animals. “We won’t move from here. We will be here until we find an amicable solution,” said Andrew De Juy, chairman of the group known as the Aroab Small Farmers Union.
The group this week also wrote to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), requesting the commission to investigate all recommendations by the //Karas resettlement committee from 2007 to this year. In the letter – seen by New Era – the group asks the ACC to investigate whether the recommended beneficiaries are related to committee members and whether there is any conflict of interest.
The group also wrote to the Office of the President seeking intervention in the matter, noting that their pleas to be resettled have over the past 20 years fallen on deaf ears.