10 August 2017

Namibia: Concern Over Veld Fires in Kavango West

Rundu — Councillor of Kahenge constituency and chairperson of the Kavango West Regional Council, Joseph Sivaku has urged residents of the region not to start veld fires.

Sivaku said in an interview recently that people should stop burning the grasslands, because this can destroy forests and pastures.

He said people should know the importance of the environment they live in, be mindful of what it can offer and what damage a forest fire can cause.

Veld fires have over the past weeks been reported at Rupara and Nzinze village, between 70 and 85 kilometres west of Rundu.

The councillor said when fire destroys the forest, it forces animals such as elephants in particular to come closer to people in search of food, and they destroy their homes and crop fields.

"I am sure that each and every Namibian knows the importance of nature and how much it contributes to the economy and our daily lives," said Sivaku.

He also urged lawmakers to introduce stiffer penalties to deal with anyone caught committing such acts.

The councillor said burning a veld contributes to global warming, which can bring about droughts like those experienced over the past three years.

"Because of drought some farmers lost cattle, and did not have draught power for the ploughing season," said Sivaku.

The Forest Act of 2001 states that no person shall light a fire or cause a fire to be lit in a community forest or a forest management area unless in the case of a community forest, the lighting of the fire has been authorised by the management authority of the community forest and done in accordance with a relevant management plan.

A person found contravening this act is liable to pay compensation to a person who suffers damage as a result. Failure to do that leads to a fine of N$8 000 or two years' imprisonment.

- Nampa

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