05 Dec 2013 16:50pm
By Paulus Shiku
KEETMANSHOOP, 05 DEC (NAMPA) - The /Hai-/Khaua Traditional Authority of Berseba has communicated its intention to seek compensation for the land they lost when construction on the Neckartal Dam commenced.
Neckartal is situated some 40 kilometres north-west of Keetmanshoop near the Fish River in the Snyfontein area of the Berseba village, and will take up about 5 000 hectares of communal land.
Speaking to Nampa here on Thursday, Berseba Chief Johannes Isaak stated that the authority has informed the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) that they want to be compensated for their land.
We have lost out on land, grass and many trees are affected. Our people and animals can no longer use that land for grazing and other practices as before. Thats why we need some sort of compensation, the chief stressed.
Isaak explained that the authority has not yet indicated to the ministry what type of compensation they are seeking as they intended to do so at a meeting which was scheduled for the end of last month.
For reasons only known to them, the ministry postponed the November meeting to next year, but they did not give us a date and month.
At the moment, I cannot tell you what compensation we want, he continued.
With regards to compensation for individual farmers who would be relocated to make way for the dam, Isaak said more than 10 households were identified.
He also could not say what type of compensation those farmers would seek, as he said that information will only be revealed once the authority and the MAWF discuss the matter.
According to Isaak, they also face challenges, as two households which left the affected area before the construction of the dam started have returned with the intention of receiving compensation.
I do not know how the ministry is going to deal with the people who returned simply because they want to benefit from the compensation, but we have to sit and find solutions to these things, he noted.
Efforts to get comment from the chairperson of the Neckartal task force committee and Director of Rural Water Supply Leopold Niipare were unsuccessful as he is on leave, and his mobile phone remained switched off.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa launched the first work on the construction of the Neckartal Dam project in November this year.