The Windhoek High Court today ordered that Government install with immediate effect a fence on a 4 000 hectare communal farm in the Ohangwena Region, which belongs to Tileinge Wapulile it removed in July this year, while it should also cover all legal costs.
The court argued that the Communal Land Board, which falls under the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement removed a fence, while the applicant was still waiting for approval for an extension on his occupation of the land.
Initially, Wapulile applied to the Ondonga Traditional Authority (OTA) to acquire land and to fence it off which was given, but also had to do the same with the Communal Land Board.
He received formal approval to occupy the land in 1996 from OTA, after he was already given the go ahead to live on it in 1986. He fenced it off in 1989.
The Minister of Lands and Resettlement, Alpheus !Naruseb in 2007 gave permission to Wapulile to occupy land for a period of three years as prescribed in the amended Land Act of 2003.
After that has expired 2009, he applied again and was waiting for a response from the authorities, but to his surprise, a decision was taken that his fence be removed, as he was considered to be occupying the land there illegally, together with the fence that he has put up.
He initially made several queries to hear about his application for an extension, but never got a response.
The court has found that the Communal Land Board acted wrongfully in removing the fence while Wapulile was still waiting for approval and certain provisions of the Act which were not followed.
Mbushandje Ntinda, legal representative of Wapulile says the legal costs could run into thousands of of dollars.
“We have not yet determined that, but it could be thousands, while the Government must also pay for the costs of the fences as new ones are required,” he says.