24 January 2013

Namibia: Tweya's Illegal Fence to Be Removed

Photo: Dylan Thomas / UKaid / Department for International Development
File photo of Barbed fencing lines.

The Kavango Communal Land Board, in conjunction with the Namibian Police, will remove the illegal fence erected by Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Tjekero Tweya in a communal area at Shamungwa village in the Mukwe Constituency.

Tweya's fence and that of Johannes Ihemba, a nephew of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority's leader Chief Sitentu Mpasi, will be removed after they have appeared in court at a date yet to be determined.

The removal of the fence is in accordance with directives given by Cabinet in July last year, instructing the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement to reinforce measures against those fencing land in communal areas.

Section 44 of the Communal Land Reform Act 5 of 2002 states that "any person who erects or causes to erect on any communal land any fence of whatever nature, is guilty of an offence, and on conviction, liable to a fine not exceeding N$4 000, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or both".

The chairperson of the Kavango Communal Land Board, Thomas Ngoma, told Nampa yesterday that six people in the region had fenced communal land illegally, as they did not have leasehold certificates from the Land Board.

Although Ngoma refused to disclose the names of these six people, Nampa has established that they include Tweya, Local Government Minister Charles Namoloh and Ihemba.

The six were given notice by the Land Board to voluntarily remove the fences or to appeal against the decision.

Ngoma said four of the six people appealed to the Ministry of Lands against the removal of their fences, while two did not.

Nampa further learned that Namoloh and three others, whose names could not be established, appealed against the removal of their fences, while Tweya and Ihemba did not appeal by the deadline at the end of last year.

The Regional Land Board thus opened a case of illegal fencing against Tweya and Ihemba, because they did not appeal.

The Ministry of Lands directed that all illegal fences should be removed by February 28 this year, while the police are still busy with their investigations.

Namoloh is alleged to have illegally fenced off about 2 500 hectares of communal land at Mupapama village in western Kavango, bordering Angola, allegedly to curb cross-border crimes, mainly stock theft, and the spread of animal diseases.

The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement last year verified that Tweya had fenced off 2 935 hectares to set up his own farm. Half of the fenced area had been registered and gazetted as the Shamungwa Conservancy.

The ministry's verification was done on January 25 last year, following directives from the Office of the President after Tweya's fencing of communal land was reported in the media.

Reports from the ministry of lands and resettlement made available last year indicated that Tweya had fenced land that is surrounded by 10 villages.

Villagers of the area claimed that the fencing by the deputy minister denied their cattle access to grazing, and also denied them access to wild fruit, which they depend on.


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