Schlettwein dismayed over illegal occupation of resettlement farms

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The issue of illegal fencing and the displacement of people from resettlement farms allocated to them by government needs to be addressed with all seriousness.

This was said by Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein during a recent visit to Farm Bravo in the Kavango West Region, where an influx of cattle owners reportedly from the Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions have fenced off vast areas of land.

This activity, according to Schlettwein, is forcing the San community out of the area in search of grazing elsewhere, while they were resettled there under the government's national resettlement programme.

'We are looking at a farm that was used as a resettlement scheme for our San people and it looks on face value that it had been invaded by other groups, so much so that the San who were originally resettled on the farm are now back in the corridors,' the minister said.

He said the land the State gave them along with cattle is seemingly no longer in their possession.

“This is a very serious matter and the ministry is determined to use legal tools to remove the illegal fences and charge the people who erected them,” he warned, noting that his ministry will make sure that government policies aimed at assisting those who are vulnerable, take effect.

Schlettwein further said these problems are not only experienced in the Kavango East and West regions, but in many regions where people just move in and through illegal ways get access to land without proper leaseholds or the involvement of traditional authorities and land boards.

Just last month, community members from Mile 20 village in the Kavango West Region took matters into their own hands when they attempted to remove illegal fencing identified at 12 areas within the village.

The community members claimed the illegal fencing deprives them of their grazing rights.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency