Govt to fight AR over red line

22 July 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

The government intends to fight a lawsuit in which Affirmative Repositioning (AR) activist Job Amupanda demanded the removal of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF), also known as the red line.

The claim was filed by Amupanda on 26 May, seeking a court order to have the fence removed and declared illegal and unconstitutional.

The defendants in the matter are agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein, the government, attorney-general Festus Mbandeka and an official of the directorate of veterinary services, Hango Nambinga.

All defendants have now filed a notice of intention to defend the matter in the High Court.

Namibian Sun previously reported that a combined summons was served on the defendants on 26 May and they were given 21 days to respond.

However, the defendants have also indicated to the court that the summons were only received by them on 17 June and they, therefore, still had time to file their notice to defend.

Amupanda in his claim insisted that the court order the agriculture ministry to remove the fence within 90 days.

He further asked the court whether the red line was sanctioned by any laws, as he feels “such laws violate the dignity of Namibians, are discriminatory and unconstitutional”.

‘Discriminatory’

Amupanda described the VCF as a brutal, shameful and draconian policy seeking to sustain discrimination of people residing north of the red line.

According to him, the fence was erected to act as a shield and to insulate people who reside south of the red line and their livestock from perceived or actual diseases which emanate from those north of the red line and their livestock.

“This protection and insulation are not accorded to people who reside north of the red line and their livestock. This is discriminatory,” he said.

If his attempt to remove the red line succeeds, Namibia stands to lose more than N$6 billion in revenue, the Livestock Producers Organisation has warned.