Rose-Mary Haufiku

Windhoek Mayor, Job Shipululo Amupanda, is suing Government, challenging the continued existence of the “Red Line”, also referred to as the Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF) more than a 100 years after regulations supporting its existence were enacted.

The legal action by Amupanda comes after this month he had his meat valued at N$1000 confiscated at the Oshivelo checkpoint when he was returning to Windhoek from the north of Namibia. “The Plaintiff is therefore aggrieved and is entitled to approach the honourable court in terms of Article 25 of the Namibian Constitution for an order declaring the conduct of the fourth defendant as unlawful and unconstitutional on the basis that same is not sanctioned by any law and at the same time violates article 8 and 10 of the Namibian Constitution,” papers filed in the High Court by his lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo, read.

“The Cordon fence “classifies persons or enables the classification of persons (including their animals) by officials of the first and second defendant who travel from the North of the Red Line as inferior and who should be screened for diseases, confiscated, burned and searched without warrants. This treatment is not dispensed to those who travel from the south of the Red Line.”

The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform has been cited as first defendant, the Government of the Republic of Namibia as the second defendant, the Attorney General of the Republic of Namibia as the third defendant and Hango Nambinga N.O. as the fourth defendant.

The VCF was initiated in 1896 to act as a shield and to insulate persons who reside south of the Red Line and their livestock from perceived or actual diseases, which emanates from people who reside north of the red line and their livestock.

The legal action comes more than three years after President Hage Geingob had vowed to look into the removal of the VCF to increase beef production for export purposes, as currently cattle from the North are excluded for export.

This year communal farmers from the Kavango West region complained about the VCF saying that it deprives them opportunities to sell their livestock to other parts of the country.

According to the Meatco 2020 annual report, of the 2,7 million cattle in Namibia, 1,7 million are found in areas north of the VCF.

The Law Reform and Development Commission is still to announce any research done on measures to repeal the Red Line existing regulations.