Communal Land Board orders removal of illegal fences near Tsumkw

26 Nov 2013 11:30am
OTJIWARONGO, 26 NOV (NAMPA) – Otjozondjupa Communal Land Board chairperson Jeaneth Kuhanga has ordered all farmers who are grazing their animals illegally in the Tsumkwe West area to remove their fences immediately.
She told Nampa on Tuesday that six of the illegal fences erected in the Janju area of the Omatako village in the Tsumkwe West communal land earlier this year, have been removed voluntarily by the owners.
The Otjozondjupa Communal Land Board issued 77 notices for the removal of fences to the alleged illegal occupants of grazing land in Tsumkwe West two weeks ago, but only six of the notice recipients have co-operated with the Communal Land Board so far.
“I want to see others complying before the situation gets out of hand, as we will use force to remove them,” stressed Kuhanga.
The Otjozondjupa Regional Deputy Director in the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata, also confirmed in an interview with this agency last Wednesday that some fences had been removed voluntarily.
The six removed fences covered a total of 5 162 hectares of communal land.
Nghituwamata said the identified illegally fenced-off communal land in the Janju area alone is more than 33 000 hectares.
She said the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement recently completed mapping activities on the entire Tsumkwe West communal land, and discovered that all the new fences which were found erected there were illegal.
“The owners of these illegal fences have been identified, and we have a list of their names and contact details,” Nghituwamata noted.
It is alleged that the farmers who are grazing their animals illegally in Tsumkwe West fenced-off huge tracts of communal land because of the drought situation in their areas of origin.
They mainly came from the Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Omusati, Kavango, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions.
The Otjozondjupa Communal Land Board could lay charges of illegal fencing, illegal grazing and illegal occupation of land against them all.
In September this year, the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) issued eviction notices to 32 illegal occupants of Tsumkwe West communal land.
NamPol Head of Operations, Commissioner Christoph Nakanyala told Nampa then that the eviction notices were distributed to all the illegal occupants by police officers from the Khomas and Otjozondjupa regions.
Once the farmers received their eviction notices, they were given 30 days in which to remove their illegal fences, or lodge an appeal with the courts.
Tsumkwe is situated over 260 kilometres east of Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region.