Na Jaqna eviction and illegal fence removal not enforced
By Nyae Nyae Development Foundation
The Na Jaqna Conservancy received a positive verdict in its eviction cases against 22 illegal settlers in their Conservancy from the Namibian Courts at the end of last year. However, the Na Jaqna Conservancy Management Committee to this day are still awaiting confirmation of the implementation of the verdict. Leaving the legal settlers within the Conservancy wondering why the law is not being upheld and implemented to the fullest and protecting their rights.
The verdict was handed down by Namibia’s High Court. The Conservancy saw that some progress was made by the Land Board to remove fences of the 22 evicted settlers in March, 2017.
However the eviction notices also stated that the settlers had to completely leave the Conservancy. This includes taking their livestock, possessions and their fences, this has not happened.
Removal of illegal fences has been a problem since 2013, when the CLB first ordered the removal of about 120 fences. Little action has been taken and apart from approximately 40 persons who voluntarily removed their fences after receiving the CLB orders. As others saw there were no consequences to them settling illegally and or ignoring the removal orders, new settlers arrived and trampled the San community’s rights and land.
Without strict enforcement the eviction orders or fencer removal orders mean nothing and the San are once again placed in a weakened legal position. It raises the question as to why the authorities are so slow in acting when it is the rights of the San being infringed upon. The lack of movement, support and enforcement of orders makes the people of the Na Jaqna Conservancy feel unrecognised and very much like second class citizens in their own land. Land they have the right to.
It leaves the communities wondering how the bold ambitious Harambee Prosperity Plan can possibly succeed if the government won’t protect one its most marginalised and oldest communities. Especially when the law is on their side. Perhaps it is because the San are so marginalised and barely have a voice, that the government feels no need or urgency to act on this matter.
The Conservancy has called the Hon. Minister Pohomba Shifeta of the Minister of Environment and Tourism, to keep his promise of supporting the San and the Conservancy and upholding and implementing the CLB and High Court Orders. Something that has not materialised to this day. Only then can the San live, work, thrive and improve their situation and look forward to a positive future in the Conservancy.