14 June 2013

Namibia: Illegal Farmers Stay Put in Tsumkwe

FOUR days after the Chief of the Namibian Police Force, Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, condemned the illegal fencing taking place at the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy in the Tsumkwe West area, farmers grazing in the area are yet to remove their fences.

Earlier this week, Ndeitunga ordered the 31 communal farmers illegally-grazing livestock in the Tsumkwe area to vacate the area with their livestock immediately, but not a single one has complied with the order.

Police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi (photo) said although the farmers were given a deadline to move out of the area before 6 July 2013, there has been no progress as far as vacating is concerned.

“We have some members of Nampol monitoring the situation over there at the moment, but until the deadline passes, we can do nothing at the moment except to keep an eye on the situation,” said Kanguatjivi.

He could however not give a clear-cut answer as to what the next course of action would be should the farmers fail to vacate by the deadline, although Ndeitunga earlier on threatened to pull down the fences if farmers did not voluntarily move out.

The illegal farmers, who have invaded the N≠a Jaqna Conservancy since 2008, an area that had been gazetted by the government as a communal area and inhabited by the !Kung Community, have put a halt to economic activities taking place there. Residents of the !Kung community have expressed concern over the disruption of economic activities and have pleaded with government to intervene.

The Otjozondjupa Communal Land Board last week told The Namibian that it had already been given the farmers a final notice to remove the illegal fences on 2 May 2013. Farmers were given a 30-day notice in which to appeal against the Board's decision if they wanted to.

The Board said in a statement that the office had received appeals from some of the farmers, which were discussed yesterday. However, officials on the board refused to divulge information on the outcome of their discussions.

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