Participating farmers at the Khomas Region consultative workshop for the second National Land Conference (NLC) suggested that farm workers should not be evicted from commercial farms where they have worked for more than 15 years.
Famers strongly suggested that Resolution 10 of 1991 of the ﬁrst land conference be implemented as the country has witnessed the eviction of farm workers from commercial farms and end up in corridors whenever a farm is sold or farmworkers are no longer able to work. A participant who identiﬁed himself as Ronnie !Naruseb spoke to The Villager at the workshop, where he expressed that a trend in farm evictions from commercial farms has been on the rise.
“We need the government to fully implement the Resolution 10, this law has been there ever since but nothing is being done by the government and us as Namibians need to help these poor farmers get a piece of land. Even the government evicts Namibians once they bought commercial farms and then goes ahead to resettle some other families at the same farm instead of given priority to evicted farmers or the farmworkers that has been on that land for many years,” he fumed.
He added that event a 20-hectare piece of land can be allocated to farmworkers as they don’t have a place to go when they are evicted. Resolution 10 states that farm workers should be afforded rights and protection under labour code; and the government should enact legislation providing for a charter of rights for farm workers; the charter should be monitored and enforced by a government agency and the charter of rights should include provision for maximum working hours, sick leave, annual leave, schooling for children and medical care amongst others.
A farmer that identiﬁed himself Leonard Maliko said that implementing Resolution 10 will ensure that farmworkers are protected. “Generational farmworkers are mostly affected, we need to discuss this and go more into detail and make sure that no farmworker is evicted after the conference. I fully support the idea of implementing the Resolution.
Imagine if a pensioner ﬁnds himself in a corridor at his age where does he start? How does he or she look after his family and livestock? This is a serious issue,” he said. He further added that the state must task a special team to see to the number of generational farmer workers are employed on communal as well as commercial farms.
However, commercial farmers based in Khomas region noted that there is a need to assist commercial famers during drought as there is currently no drought relief assistance from the government to commercial farmers in the country.