Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate on Tuesday assured the local farming community the Namibian Police have heard their cries and measures have been put in place to address the high prevalence of livestock theft in the region.
In his maiden state of the region address at Gobabis, Nganate revealed Omaheke has lost livestock to the value of N$5 million from April 2019 to March 2020.
“Stock theft has taken its toll in the region, particularly in Epukiro and Otjombinde constituencies,” he said. “The police have heard your cry about some police officers relaxing on the job – and as such, police officers at Epukiro, Tallismanus, Corridor 13 and Witvlei were rotated for the improvement of police operations, as well as to ensure restoration of your trust in the force.” He said from April 2019 to March 2020, 99 stock theft-related cases were reported to the region’s police, of which 552 were big livestock and 627 small stock to the tune of N$4.95 million.
According to Nganate, of the 552 big livestock stolen, 159 were recovered, while 292 small livestock of the 627 were recovered to the value N$1.8 million.
Nganate said 244 suspected livestock rustlers were arrested by the police. The governor urged the region’s farming communities to cooperate with Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) officials and the police so that culprits can be brought to book.
“The DVS, in collaboration with the police, collected DNA samples, which helped in finding the rightful owners of some stolen animals. As a region that derives its livelihood predominantly from livestock, we cannot allow for this situation to continue – enough is enough,” he stressed. Nganate also shed some light on the N$14.7 million given to the Omaheke Regional Council by central government last year through the drought relief programme for the provision of water. He said the money was divided equally among the seven constituencies that denote N$2 million per constituency, including a contingency amount of N$1 million that was set aside.
“The region experienced implementation hiccups, which were widely reported in the public media, this is regrettably not what we wish for as a region and should not be what we stand for,” Nganate said. “These unwarranted developments should be addressed and I am glad that regional council is addressing this through internal investigations to bring the culprits to book and to ensure that the advance payment of N$4.9 million is recovered.”
Despite all these unfortunate occurrences, Nganate said progress has been made; a total of 112 boreholes were rehabilitated and 102 successfully drilled.
He also said during the year under review, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform provided 30 solar pumping systems at a tune of N$1.1 million that were installed 30 farming units.
He further said the ministry has commenced with internal border fences at a cost of N$1.5 million.