ONGWEDIVA – The University of Namibia’s Hifikepunye Pohamba Campus has warned the residents of the New Reception location against vandalism of its fence following two fires at the campus this week.
The recent fire, which was put out promptly by the Ongwediva Town Council, was allegedly started by one of the New Reception residents.
The council’s spokesperson Jackson Muma said the latest incident is the 10th fire incident at the Hifikepunye Pohamba campus since January.
The council has since January responded to 116 incidents across the town and 21 during August.
New Era understands the community at New Reception is aggrieved with Unam putting up the fence, arguing they usually walked through the campus to the Ongwediva-Oshakati main road to access basic services.
Spokesperson for the northern campuses Linus Hamunyela said the university did not close access to the community.
He said there are designated points to pass, especially for the Shapwa school within the campus.
Despite the designated points of entry, the community has over the years been cutting the fence to pass at any place of choice.
“There are gates for the community to pass – but instead, they chose to vandalise the fence,” said Hamunyela.
Despite crossing over to the road, some community members vandalise the fence to harvest grass or to collect firewood from the campus.
“We had in the past warned some people, but that too did not help,” said Hamunyela.
At the moment, Hamunyela said the university has embarked on a project to get rid of grass around the building to ensure maximum safety at the campus.
He said community members who need grass to feed their livestock should arrange with the university.
The grass will be provided at no cost.
The town council is yet again reiterating the call to the public to desist from burning grass, waste or garden material.
“Stakeholders are hereby informed that the encroachment of trees, bushes, weeds and grass in and around residential plots, institutions and business premises are likely to ignite the spread of fire to building structures, thereby causing extensive damage to properties,” said Muma.
The fence was constructed five years ago at a cost of N$3 million.