Conservancies demand more support
The two largest conservancies and a community forest face many challenges and often getting support from government or local authorities, is the most difficult.
Sarah Zungu, N≠a Jaqna Conservancy Vice Chairperson on behalf of the communities said, “we the NJC and NNCCF are delighted by the response of the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon. Pohamba Shifeta to our call for help in dealing with years of abuse of our land and resource rights”.
“We represent the two largest conservancies and a community forest working to use sustainably and responsibly the resources available to us under the Communal Lands and Forest Acts. We have been and are constantly faced with illegal grazers, settlers and fencers disrespecting the laws that we abide by,” she said.
“This disregard for the law leads to over-grazing and restricts the access of the rightful traditional communities, like ours, to our land and resources. The land is one of our most precious resources and gives us life, without it our communities are becoming even more marginalised and unable to develop or map a prosperous future for ourselves,” she added.
According to Zungu, for many years many of the local authorities and ministries have failed to address these illegal activities, although well-known and well-documented.
“This is exceedingly worrying as it is their responsibility to protect our rights. Just as the government and local authorities should protect the rights of all Namibians,” she said.
Recently Shifeta gave the communities hope. “We invite Minister to come and see our communities. He will be able to see the areas affected and where we are struggling to exist because of others abusing and disrespecting the laws,” she said.
“We hope the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the Police will collaborate with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in redressing these long-standing issues. We also thank the President for setting the tone with the Harambee Plan. Let us work together to realise the equal justice envisaged there by enforcing the laws of our land. Which will give our communities a chance to work and benefit from the resources of our land and fend for ourselves,” she stated.