Agri Ministry to demolish illegal fencing in Kavango West and Ohangwena

Tujoromajo Kasuto

Starting tomorrow, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR) has hired the National Youth Service (NYS) to remove ten illegal fences in the Kavango West and Ohangwena regions for the next four weeks.

According to the ministry, only one fence will be removed this time in Ohangwena, while nine illegal fences will be removed in Kavango West. “The actual removal is planned to commence on the 16th of November for 3 to 4 weeks.

MAWLR will join NYS for the first five (5) days from the 16 – 21 November 2022 for monitoring purposes,” the statement reads.The Communal Land Reform Act of 2002, which went into effect on March 1, 2003, aims to improve the system of communal land tenure by establishing Communal Land Boards for specific communal areas. These boards have authority over the allocation and cancellation of customary land rights by the chief or traditional authority of a specific communal area.

According to MAWLR, the Act expressly prohibits the construction of fences on communal lands, this requires that no new fences be erected unless proper authorization is obtained in accordance with the Act. Similarly, fences that existed at the time the Act came into operation, have to be taken down, unless the people who erected those fences applied for and were given permission to keep the fences on the land. “This means that, from 01 March 2003 onwards, no new fences were allowed to be put up, and fences could only be retained if authorization was asked for and given under the Act,” the ministry says.

Since the fiscal year 2012/13, the ministry has identified all illegal fences, i.e. all fences erected after March 2003, with the goal of removing them as required by law. The Communal Land Reform Act imposes penalties for these offences, which include a maximum fine of N$4,000.00. If the person persists in refusing to remove the fence after being convicted of a crime, he or she is committing a new crime known as a continuing offence. “The person can be fined up to N$50 for each day that the fence remains standing

Complaints have been made with regard to fences erected in Ohangwena, Kavango West and Kavango East regions and the erection of these fences has caused a potential conflict in the regions,” the statement notes.

By Observer