Job changes course on Red Line

Affirmative Repositioning (AR) activist Job Amupanda has amended the particulars of claim in his court case seeking the removal of the veterinary cordon fence after defendants in the matter moved to strike out some "irrelevant" allegations made in the claim.

10 January 2022 | Justice

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Affirmative Repositioning (AR) activist Job Amupanda has amended the particulars of claim in his court case seeking the removal of the controversial northern veterinary cordon fence.

This follows after defendants in the matter moved to strike out some allegations made by Amupanda in his claim.

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

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

The Meat Board of Namibia was added as a defendant after it asked for leave to intervene.

According to court documents, Schlettwein and Mbandeka intended to apply to strike out some allegations made by Amupanda. This was based on the grounds that “they are irrelevant and … non-compliant with Rule 45(5)”.

They added that Amupanda’s claim lacked averments necessary to sustain a cause of action and was “vague and embarrassing”.

Amupanda says in his amended claim that the Red Line was erected to act as a shield and to insulate persons who reside south of the fence and their livestock from perceived or actual diseases which emanate from people who reside north of the red line and their livestock.

He says this protection and insulation are not accorded to people who reside north of the red line and their livestock. This is discriminatory, he argues.

‘Colonial’

Amupanda says that the fence continues to be used for purposes of controlling the movement of animals and “black people” from the north to the south of Namibia.

According to him, the VCF as a “colonial structure” is unconstitutional on the basis that it was erected to achieve colonial aims and objectives.

“It is not sanctioned or made provision for by any law, in Namibia, it is not rationally connected to any purposes, people who are from northern origins are not treated the same as those from southern origins.”

He says that this is because those from southern origins in Namibia are free to consume and travel with their meat, but those from the north cannot do that without the meat being confiscated at checkpoints after being subjected to routine searches.

Amupanda further claims that the fence classifies persons or enables the classification of persons (including their animals) by officials of the ministry who travel from the north of the red line as inferior and who should be screened for diseases, confiscated, burned and searched without warrants.

“This treatment is not dispensed to those who travel from the south of the red line.”

Amupanda is still seeking an order declaring that the erection of the Red Line was not carried out in terms of any law and that it is unconstitutional.

He further seeks an order reviewing and setting aside the decision of the agriculture ministry and the government to retain the fence and is asking for an order directing and compelling that the fence be removed within 90 days.

It has been proposed that a status hearing for the matter be set for 25 January.

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