Gobabis residents against confiscation of animals

23 Apr 2014 19:00pm
GOBABIS, 23 APR (NAMPA) – The Gobabis Municipality’s seemingly random confiscation of domestic animals found within the town boundaries has angered residents here.
Residents Nampa spoke to on Wednesday raised concern about the action by the local municipality, which they claim is tantamount to depriving them of their sole means of transport and survival.
Following earlier warnings that animals found wandering the streets of Gobabis unsupervised will be impounded, the municipality has over the past two months moved in to enforce the notice.
The animals most targeted by the municipality are donkeys, horses and mules, as they are amongst those that frequent the town streets at a high rate.
Although most of the animals being impounded by the municipality are those found on the streets without supervision by their owners, residents here allege that the local municipality has also been confiscating animals found at their owners’ places of residence.
According to Piet van Wyk, an elderly man living in the Canaan informal settlement on the outskirts of Gobabis, three of his donkeys were impounded from their holding kraal at his residence by the municipality.
“They just came and told me that we are not supposed to keep animals or livestock within the boundaries of the town and then they took my donkeys away. This is really a strange practice and needs to be stopped,” he stated.
Despite using the animals to pull carts to fetch water and firewood, such animals are also used as sole means of transport to clinics and government offices in the town centre, due to the remoteness of the informal settlement.
Many who use the animals to pull carts filled with firewood told this agency that they depend on the sale of such firewood for survival.
“We are back to square one. What will we do now? How will we make an income without our sole means of transport? We needs answers to these questions,” Jan Cloete, another resident, noted.
The Public Relations Officer of the Gobabis Municipality, Frederick Ueitele has confirmed the confiscation of animals, noting that everything is being done according to set municipal by-laws.
Ueitele said the municipal by-laws are clear on the herding of livestock or keeping of animals within the boundaries of the town.
“This is nothing unusual. We cannot allow people to herd or keep animals within the town boundaries. The only exception is to those coming in from outside the town with their animal driven carts. For them, a demarcated area with sufficient water and grazing is made available,” he said.
He noted that community members were consulted on the new developments through community meetings with would-be affected people. This is however contrary to the claims of residents.