The constitutional legality of the Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF) north of Oshivelo is to be tested by lawyers and the highest officials in court and government will take the corresponding and appropriate actions accordingly and promptly, says Agriculture Minister John Mutorwa.
Speaking in the National Assembly last week, Mutorwa said whether the continued existence of the VCF is constitutional or not, will be tested by lawyers and they will advise government to take whatever actions necessary.
Mutorwa did not put a timeline to the legal process, saying it will happen “if and when such urgent and cogent and sound advice and proper court ruling have been proffered or given.”
He described the VCF erected in the 1960’s as a culmination of a series of artificial barriers between central and northern Namibia since the beginning of colonial rule that were put in place first during German rule and later maintained under South African rule.
He remarked that any citizen who is not aware of this barrier after 26 years of independence of Namibia is either politically lost or is living in a dream world.
Outlining the process to eventually remove the VCF, he said government has already approved in principle that a buffer zone or fence may be erected between Namibia and Angola and possibly later between Namibia and Zambia, as well.
A Cabinet committee under the overall political leadership and coordination of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation has been appointed to facilitate and move forward the process of consultations and discussions between the two countries.
“It is not advisable to put deadlines to bilateral consultations between two sovereign states,“ Minister Mutorwa said.
He further reported that Meatco had been operating the government-owned abattoirs in Katima Mulilo, Rundu and Oshakati before and after independence and since 2009, for five-year periods, as per contract from government.
The agreement expired in March and government has since advertised the contract. Good response was forthcoming from bidders and the successful bidders to manage and operate the abattoirs in Katima Mulilo and Oshakati will be announced very soon, he said.
“Government also availed the Omutambo-Mawe quarantine camp on a temporary basis to Meatco to buy cattle from NCA farmers during the prevailing 2016/17 drought and to keep such cattle in the quarantine camps before they are taken for slaughter by Meatco.
“My ministry has also acquired land from the Bukalo Vilage Council for the construction of a modern meat processing factory. The construction of the Rundu abattoir is to be completed early in 2017,” he further stated.
The minister said the small abattoirs of Opuwo, Outapi and Eenhana would be advertised to ensure they are put to good use to serve the livestock producers in the NCAs.
He assured the House that his ministry will continue to work hard to eradicate all transboundary animal diseases in the NCAs to improve market access for livestock and livestock products from the NCAs.
“The task to eradicate these diseases is complex and expensive. It is an economic war, but we will eventually win this war as well,” he concluded.