Bushmen accuse EU and German Development Bank of funding the sale of their land
Public Statement by Chairperson of the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy, Sarah Zungu
As the Chairperson of the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy I have been shocked to be presented with a map of proposed exclusive livestock farms for approval and signing-off after many years of vocal and documented objections to the proposal.
The consultant, George Eiseb of Namibia Premier Solutions, funded by the European Union and KFW, presented the map for sign off in April. The Conservancy refuses to sign off on a map which they strongly oppose and to which objections have been made in writing and at several previous meetings with the Ministry of Land Reform. The NJC have made proposals of what infrastructure support we would like, but our voice is repeatedly ignored.
The position of the resident San community has been made clear, but the consultants (and those behind them) are repeatedly ignoring our clear and direct opposition to the plans.
We want to go on public record and say –– WE SAY NO TO THIS PLAN AND WILL NOT CHANGE OUR MINDS – IF YOU GO FUTHER WE WILL TAKE THIS TO THE GERMAN AND EUROPEAN PRESS TO LET THEM KNOW THAT EU AND GERMAN FUNDED PROJECTS ARE CONTRAVENING THE EXPRESSED WISHES OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF NAMIBIA.
The local community want the EU and German funds to be channelled into projects that will directly support the local San community. This should include helping to address the systematic and unaddressed illegal fencing and settlement that is taking place in the conservancy. San farmers should be supported with solar water infrastructure and storage facilities at their villages, water sources for wildlife development, tractors and resources so that the San farmers can increase the scale of their activities and support the conservancy in upholding the rights of its community that are being systematically challenged almost daily by the government and now donors too.
Na Jaqna is struggling with extensive and illegal settlement and fencing throughout the area which the authorities have repeatedly failed to address. The Land Board has still not taken effective action to remove fences and people that the High Court ordered should be evicted in 2016.
There appears to be a systematic disregard for the rights of the San in this area even when the courts of this land have ruled that we are right and the authorities must take action – THEY ARE FAILING US – but we will not rest and we will continue to pursue our rights even if this means taking the Land Board and Traditional Authority to court for contempt – we are ready to do it.
Sarah Zungu (Ms)
N≠a Jaqna Conservancy Chairperson