Omaheke Regional Governor Festus Ueitele has vowed to work hand-in-hand with the newly appointed communal land board to combat illegal fencing of communal land in the Omaheke Region.
“There are individuals I personally know who have fenced off massive land in Eiseb, Otjombinde, Epukiro, Aminuis and Otjinene and this should come to an end,” said Ueitele.
Speaking to New Era yesterday, Ueitele said the practice is of serious concern as it deprives the poor of access to communal land for grazing.
About 80 percent of communal land in Omaheke is said to have been fenced off causing common grazing areas to diminish at an alarming rate.
“As a governor I cannot say remove this or that but I am very confident that together with the newly appointed board members we will be able to curb this,” he said.
He said poor farmers’ cattle are grazing in corridors while large portions of land have been fenced off – “creating problems for others including elderly pensioners”.
Ueitele appealed to villagers to refrain from illegal fencing and to respect the law.
“There are laws and procedures. You will be caught eventually – even if you pat yourself on the shoulder today for having taken large portions of land,” said Ueitele.
He further urged all traditional leaders in the region who have erected illegal fences to be an example to their subjects.
Sections 18 & 44 of the Communal Land Reform Act (Act No. 5 of 2002) prohibit people from erecting fences at any place in the communal area that has not been approved by the Communal Land Board.
Those violating the provisions of the Communal Land Reform Act (Act No. 5 of 2002) with regard to illegal fencing are liable for punishment of a maximum fine of N$4 000 or one year imprisonment, or both depending on the circumstances of the committed crime.
Although the Act does not prescribe to those who had put up their fences before the new Act, they still need to seek authorisation from the Ministry of Land Reform headed by Utoni Nujoma to keep those fences.
As part of his last assignment as Minister of Lands and Resettlement, Alpheus !Naruseb last month appointed five new members of the Lands Tribunal, as well as new members of the Communal Land Boards to serve for a three-year term.
The Lands Tribunal members are Chairperson Eliz Angala – a lawyer, Clive Kavendjii – a lawyer, Rhyno van der Walt, Orben Sibeya – also a lawyer, and Clara Bohitile – a former Swapo MP.