Rehoboth Baster Community

17 October 2012 Press Release on Meeting with Special Rapporteur James Anaya

Published by Oct 18, 2012

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17 Oct. 12

The Rehoboth Baster Gemeente as the Traditional Authority of the Rehoboth Basters has over the years experienced that the plight of Indigenous minorities in an independent Namibia has and is not taken seriously by the Government of the day. The traditional land of the Basters and some other properties such as ``Die Kaptein Hermanus van Wyk Gedenksaal`` were confiscated by the Namibian Government after independence. The Basters have over the past twenty years tried to find a solution for their problems. The Swapo party government has on several occasions made empty promises.

The Rehoboth Baster Leadership is now united, except those falling under Heb. 12;16-17, and is determined never to give up hope for a better tomorrow for their children. It is a clear fact the Namibian Government violates almost all articles of the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples which they have sanctioned as well as the UN Charter under which protection Namibia obtained independence. The Kaptein has therefore over the past two years consulted widely with experts and this has resulted in the Rehoboth Basters being part of several minority groups that met with Prof James Anaya, Special Rapporteur of the UN on his visit to Namibia last month.

Kaptein John McNab together with the political leader of the Rehoboth Basters, Mr. Willem Bismarck van Wyk lead a delegation that officially presented a document containing information regarding the atrocities of the Namibian Government with regard to the transgressing of international law by disregarding these laws in discriminating against the Rehoboth Basters. The Basters during the said meeting explained to Mr. Anaya that the Namibian Government is continuing its planned land expropriation ideas by implementing legislation such as the so called land reform act, veterans act and others to benefit only its supporters, to the disadvantage of other minority groups that oppose the Namibian Government on Human Rights violation acts, allowing corruption by turning a blind eye to these practices by majority Swapo controlled local governments.

The extension of the boundaries of the City of Windhoek to include a huge part of the Rehoboth Gebiet and the implementation of the newly increased land tax system is seen by the Basters as a devious strategy camouflaging the Government to expropriate private land. The Baster leadership is convinced that the tax payable is increased to make it impossible for farmers to pay the said tax, and when they fall into arrears, government will automatically confiscate the land. All private Baster farms are registered as commercial land. This is due to the fact that the small or average farmers do not have access to crucial financial support after the Government has expropriatd “REKOR”, which served as supporting institution to small farmers and businesses.

The Basters have also indicated to Mr. Anaya that some other minority groups are facing similar problems. The Basters however requested that the issue be taken up on international level and want the five western powers to take note of the situation in Namibia. Various minority groups are convinced that independence has not benefited them. Baster Leaders want minority groups to work together in their efforts to change the situation and would like to request minority groups to work together on a political level in order to get representation at all levels of Government. It was further pointed out that so called members of minority groups who are currently serving the window dressing purpose in government on a Swapo party tickets do not represent the Basters and are not recognised as such.

 

Kaptein J. McNab