February 20, 2004

NAMIBIA: Cabinet to take interim action on farm evictions

The Cabinet has announced that Government would introduce, as a matter of urgency and absolute necessity, a Temporary Intervention Policy of Eviction. The policy would be aimed at farm labourers and their dependents and would take into account their length of service on the farm. "Depending on these and other considerations, the policy should prohibit outright evictions in no uncertain terms," said a statement issued by Information Minister Nangolo Mbumba. Both the Namibia Farmworkers Union (NFU) and the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) have welcomed the Cabinet move. It is supposed to propose a long-term solution to avoid the eviction of farmworkers.

Meanwhile, Government has also complained that white commercial farmers are abusing the protection they receive when farm workers and unionists are restrained from carrying out threats to invade their farms. Deputy Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Isak Katali, has accused "many" white farmers of failing to help Government resolve the land reform issue, and says the "writing is on the wall" for those who hide behind Government protection.

According to Katali, some white commercial farmers were promoting the notion that nothing good could come from black-owned farms and that many farms bought from them by Government are "in bad shape". "The public is made to believe that, when a white farmer sells the farm, everything is white and after selling the farm everything becomes black. White and black in this case are associated with good and bad respectively," Katali said. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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