THE deputy minister of home affairs, immigration, safety and security, Daniel Kashikola, has assured undocumented and stateless people they will not be deported.
“One cannot deport a person if you don’t know where they are from,” he says.
Kashikola encourages undocumented and stateless individuals to approach constituency councillors’ offices and traditional authorities to ensure they are documented.
There are a number of stateless and undocumented people in the country, especially along the border regions of Ohangwena and Kavango East, as well as the Erongo region.
A stateless person is defined as an individual who is not recognised as a citizen by the laws of any country.
They usually do not have national documentation.
Kashikola says the ministry is currently doing a study to determine how many such people reside in the country.
The deputy minister is currently on a regional visit to the Ohangwena and Kavango East regions, where he is engaging with communities and familiarising himself with the issues of stateless and undocumented residents of those regions.
He has already covered most of the Ohangwena region, and in particular the Okongo and Omundaungilo constituencies.
Kashikola is expected to visit Rundu and Divundu in the Kavango East region next week.
However, his visit to Divundu is not being received well by the Khwe people in the Bwabwata National Park at Omega 1.
They are asking why Kashikola chose not to visit them as they believe they are most affected by issues of statelessness and the absence of national documents.
Kativa Kandjumbi is one of the Khwe group who is not in possession of national documentation.
He says he was denied national documents because his “story does not add up”, although he has lived in the national park for most of his life.
Kandjumbi says he was born in the Bwabwata National Park, but escaped from the colonial brutality in the area into Angola with his parents when he was young.
“My parents died in Angola. When I wanted to get national documents there, they told me I am not from Angola. I came back to Namibia and wanted to look for a job, but everyone was asking for the document.
“When I enquired about it, I was told I am from Zambia and don’t qualify for national documents,” he says.
Kandjumbi says he survives on walking people’s cattle to water points and doing domestic chores at homesteads.
He says he does not always get monetary rewards as at times he is only rewarded with food.
“When I demand money, the people threaten to report me to the police, because I don’t have national documents. The problem is also a traditional authority who is not recognised, and now we have people who do not know us confirming our nationality,” he says.
Another case is that of Njangara Chaa, who was issued national documents which indicated he was born in Zambia.
He says the lack of national documents has deprived him of a pension grant.
“My parents were nomadic people, so I can also not confirm whether I was born in Zambia or not. I can’t even afford transport money to go to a meeting with the people of home affairs at Divundu,” he says.
Kashikola has promised to arrange another trip to the Kavango East region to meet with the Khwe community.