Deputy prime minister and minister of international relations and cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has told Namibian farmers who have illegally fenced off land in Angola to remove their fences.
Nandi-Ndaitwah says some Namibian farmers grazing their animals in Angola have illegally erected fences without permission from the Angolan authorities.
She was speaking at a meeting with Namibian farmers at Helao Nafidi on Friday.
The meeting was also attended by an Angolan delegation which included the Angolan minister of international relations, Tete António, Angolan police chief Arnaldo Carlos and various cabinet ministers from both Angola and Namibia.
She said in 1992 the Angolan and Namibian governments signed a bilateral agreement to allow Namibian farmers to graze their animals in Angola within a radius of 60km from the border.
She said some farmers have now gone beyond the radius of 60km.
“It has come to our attention that there are a few individuals who have illegally fenced off land in the Republic of Angola.”
“For those who have put up those fences illegally, it is just good for you to remove the fences and live in harmony with the citizens of Angola,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
She added that some Namibian farmers are also involved in poaching activities in Angola, while some graze their animals in protected areas. “I strongly condemn this, because it’s not allowed. Everywhere we talk about conservation. I know the pain of poaching. I urge Namibians if there are those doing that to stop it,” she said.
According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, some Namibians also smuggle illegal arms into Angola. She said Namibian farmers grazing their animals in Angola should respect the laws of that country. Nandi-Ndaitwah added that Namibia does not condone the behaviour of Namibians who do not comply with Angolan laws and Angola has the right to enforce its laws against anyone who transgresses them.
According to her, all farmers grazing their animals in Angola should register with the Angolan authorities to get permits to graze their livestocks in that country.
She said farmers should register with Namibian missions at Ondjiva and Menongue.
Nandi-Ndaitwah in October last year said president Hage Geingob sent her to Angola to discuss the issue of Namibian farmers in Angola, and her Angolan counterpart António agreed to hold a meeting with farmers.
One of the farmers who attended the meeting, Peter Shindjala, said those who have put up illegal fences in Angola are “Swapo politicians and those in government”.
“Those are the people causing problems in Angola and they are depriving us of grazing land for our livestock,” he said.
He said some politicians graze their animals near the Cuando River, Ekangonene, Omevamalula, Omamwandi and Olupale areas in Angola. He said this is beyond the 60km radius.
Shindjala said the Angolan government has already told those who put up fences to remove them, but this plea has fallen on deaf ears.
Speaking at the same event, the chairperson of the group of Namibian farmers grazinglivestock in Angola, Daniel Mbangula, called on the Angolan government to take punitive measures against Namibian farmers who violate the laws of that country.
A local online media organisation reported in October last year that the Angolan government wanted to eject farmers who have illegally fenced off land in Angola.
Many Namibian farmers, especially from the Ohangwena region, moved their cattle to Angola after they were ejected from the Kavango West region, where they were accused of illegal fencing. Others reportedly left because they were required to pay a grazing fee of about N$5 per head of cattle per month.
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