The community of Omatako in Tsumkwe West demonstrated against the !Kung Traditional Authority regarding the alleged denial of land for a proposed youth development project.

They handed over a petition to the senior councillor on behalf of Otjozondjupa Governor James Uerikua.

The youth project was proposed by the San and a final-year student at UNAM Matambo Kambila studying in the field of agriculture.

The intention was to keep young people busy, reduce the high crime rate, create jobs, and reduce poverty.

They envisaged engaging in crop production, horticulture, and poultry.

Kambila said it has been seven months since they requested land, a cause that received support from the constituency councillor and the Ministry of Youth.

"Is this how the San community must be treated when they want the project to meet the government halfway? This community relies on food aid now that they want land to make jobs and food for themselves, but they are denied land by their own chief."

"We want a project that will stand for us; our pensioners are suffering here. These shops are very expensive here; social grants just finish on credits, so this project will minimise these problems. 50% of youth always go for court cases here because we don't have anything that's brought, like crimes like housebreaking and rape cases. This project will be very important for our lives in Omatako."

They are asking for the intervention of the councillor and the governor.

The Chairperson of the Community Development Committee, Isak Suob, says, "Since the chief took over, the lack of participation in official meetings taking place in the surrounding area or outside the area has continued as an excuse." Restrict community meetings from taking place and always take decisions without community involvement."

The senior councillor of the !Kung authority, Allan Agarob, received the petition.

"The Chief or the traditional authority did not deny land for the proposed project, but rather advised that the group give time to the authority to study the project proposal and consult with the beneficiary community for the sake of transparency and accountability. The group did not even apply to the traditional authority as required by law by submitting their application to the traditional authority for consent. They are just keeping the application and demanding the Chief approve the application immediately."

The community has given the traditional authority a week to respond favourably, or they will continue protesting.





Hiskia Filliminu