17 Sep 2013 02:40
OTJIWARONGO, 17 SEP (NAMPA) The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) has started issuing eviction notices to about 32 alleged illegal farmers in the Tsumkwe West communal area.
NamPols Head of Operations, Commissioner Christoph Nakanyala told Nampa on Monday that six detectives from the Khomas and Otjozondjupa Regions are busy issuing the eviction notices to those farmers who fenced off land in Tsumkwe West.
The police operation started last Monday (09 September), and ends on 20 September this year.
We will see to it that all those identified as illegal occupants of Tsumkwe West communal land are served with the eviction notices, Nakanyala stressed.
He explained that after the alleged illegal farmers are served with eviction notices, they will be given 30 days to appeal the notices in court, or remove their illegal fences before the police consider taking further action.
The further action could involve the arrests of the accused farmers for failing to comply with the eviction orders, or the police might forcefully remove their fences themselves.
Nakanyala has been at Tsumkwe West with the six officers since last Monday, and returned to Windhoek last Thursday.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement completed its mapping activities of the entire Tsumkwe West communal area, and discovered more illegal fences than were initially thought to have been erected in the area.
The Otjozondjupa Regional Deputy Director in the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata told Nampa on 03 September that a team of nine mapping officers in that ministry returned from the area a few days earlier, where they discovered that another 26 000 hectares of land had been illegally fenced-off.
In July this year, a technical team of mapping officers first completed some mapping activities in the area of Omatako and Janju in the Tsumkwe area.
During that exercise, about 37 fences illegally erected by farmers were found in the Omatako and Janju areas, and the total area of communal land which was fenced-off at both places was 33 000 hectares.
Areas like Boebie Pos, Kano Vlei and Mangetti Dune, amongst other places where fences had also been erected, were not mapped in July, hence the extra mapping exercises in August to September this year for these specific areas, Nghituwamata noted.
According to a report seen by this news agency, there are 77 fences in the areas of Boebie Pos, Kano Vlei and Mangetti Dune, which cover about 26 000 hectares of communal land.
Athough many fences were found this time, they are of smaller units, with the smallest being four hectares of fenced-off land. The largest fence found in the area was erected around 6 600 hectares of land, the official explained.
In Omatako and Janju, the smallest piece of fenced-off land was 36 hectares, while the largest was 5 732 hectares.
Nghituwamata said the Otjozondjupa Communal Land Board will have a meeting in October this year to make a decision on the new fences.
The Land Board will ensure that proper procedures are followed before removing any illegal fence, and as such, Government attorneys will be consulted on the matter.
She said at the time that the Otjozondjupa Communal Land Board might lay three charges against the accused illegal farmers, including counts of illegal fencing, illegal grazing and the illegal occupation of land.
It is alleged that the farmers now illegally settled in Tsumkwe West were forced to drive their animals there because of the drought situation in the areas of their origin - identified as the Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Omusati, Kavango and Omaheke Regions, and partly the Otjozondjupa Region.