iOL News (South Africa)
PRETORIA – Communal farmers in Namibia’s Ananke area have expressed gratitude to government for upgrading the damaged fence on the Etosha National Park, which had left them vulnerable to wild animals before repairs.
Online Namibian publication, New Era Live reported that the farmers said they were living in fear of wild animals such as lions, hyenas, elephants and rhinos due to the damage.
One community member, Julia Joseph, a resident of Ananke village, told New Era Live that the state of the fence had led to livestock loss over the years.
“We are very happy for the fence upgrading. We lived in fear for years due to wild animals. We use to lose our livestock all the time. I lost two donkeys in 2017 but received nothing in terms of compensation,” said Joseph.
Nangolo Sakeus said he also lived in fear for years as he would often stumble upon dangerous animals such as lions and elephants. He thanked the government for the upgrade.
Namibia’s environment and tourism minister, Pohamba Shifeta, told the publication that the ongoing upgrades would no longer be put out to tender as middlemen pocketed huge amounts of money and did shoddy work.
“If we were to continue using private companies or contractors to construct the game proof fence at Etosha National Park, it is estimated that it would cost in excess of N$700 000 per kilometre. For the 712 kilometers still remaining, this project would, therefore, cost the government an estimated amount of N$500 million,” Shifeta was quoted as saying.
The government is expected to spend around N$10 million over the next three years fixing the fence.