WINDHOEK- President Hage Geingob has told Safety and Security Minister Charles Namoloh to put his shoulder to the wheel and start implementing laws prohibiting illegal fencing in various communal areas without further delay.
Geingob said he is gravely disturbed by incidents of illegal fencing that are so prevalent across communal areas where these barriers restrict the movement of livestock.
Section 18 of the Communal Land Reform Act (Act 5 of 2002), enacted in 2003, takes a strong position against the erection of fences on communal lands, which is prevalent in Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions.
“A sensitisation and consultation process should start before law enforcement agencies move swiftly to enforce the law without fear and favour,” presidential Press Secretary Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari, in a statement yesterday, quoted Geingob as having said.
Geingob, speaking during a Cabinet meeting to a post-mortem and review of the resolution of the recently concluded second national land conference, said by the end of this month, all illegal fences should be identified and notice should be given to those committing the illegal act to remove their fences within a reasonable timeline.
New Era reported last week Ohangwena leads the list of regions with the highest number of illegal fencing in communal areas.
According to statistics presented by Maria Kasita at the 2nd National Land Conference on behalf of traditional authorities and communal land boards, Ohangwena tops the list with 107 cases of illegal fencing reported between 2012-2015.
It is followed by Otjozondjupa with 58 cases recorded during the same period, Omaheke (48), Omusati (42), Kavango East and West (36), and Oshikoto (16).
The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) has also called for the removal of illegal fences in communal areas, saying they increase inequality between Namibians - those that can afford fencing materials and those fenced out.
LAC’s coordinator on land, environment and development, Willem Odendaal said this during his presentation at the second national land conference that ended last week.
He said illegal fencing in communal areas increase grazing pressure and degrades the remaining commonage.
Odendaal said illegal fencing in communal areas does not only affect grazing for the poor but it also prohibits poor people from accessing firewood, thatching grass and even veld food that the poorest members of traditional communities depends on for their livelihood.
He said if ignored, illegal fencing is effectively rewarded - leading other fenced off areas to ensure they have access to some part of the commonage.
Odendaal said every communal land board must produce a map of all legal fences and make it available to the public by 30 November in order to hold traditional authorities and communal land boards accountable.
In the past, wealthy politicians have been accused of fencing off massive land, at times measuring over 3000 hectares, in communal areas.
Also, a number of regions in their position papers to the conference requested that illegal fencing be criminalised so that culprits are dealt with criminally instead of merely having their fences removed.
2018-10-11 09:09:10 4 days ago