N$1.8 billion needed for Etosha fence

14 November 2018 | Environment

A game-proof Etosha boundary fence will cost about N$1.8 billion to complete.

This is according to a report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources, which undertook a fact-finding mission to Etosha from 27 May to 1 June.

Namibian Wildlife Resorts (NWR) yesterday appeared before the committee, where problems caused by the incomplete and damaged fence were among the issues discussed.

According to the committee's report, N$176 million has been budgeted for the completion of the fence since the 2012/13 financial year. With a mere N$12 million budgeted in 2017/18, the committee pointed out that the budget allocations were inadequate.

The report said northern communities were moving closer to Etosha, which was worrying because of the condition of the fence.

The committee said this may result in increased human-wildlife conflict, poaching, trespassing, wildlife escaping from the park and further fence damage.

It was also noted that communities living close to the park do not take care of their livestock, which results in them entering the park.

The report said although 118km of the fence had been upgraded, sections had to be redone due to lack of maintenance.





According to the report there is a lack of funds and manpower to maintain the fence, with about 30 staff members responsible for maintaining the 842km fence.

Another area of concern is the lack of a dedicated fence maintenance team in the park.

According to the committee the environment ministry had assessed the fence and identified four sections that must be completed.

Section A (200km) will cost an estimated N$519 million; Section B (190km) N$480 million, Section C (192km) N$510 million and Section D (130km) will cost N$344 million. In total it is estimated that more than N$1.8 billion is needed to complete the fence.

The managing director of NWR, Zelna Hengari, said it is not the company's responsibility to maintain the fence. The environment and tourism ministry is responsible for maintaining public toilets, fences and the roads in national parks.

Given the government's financial position, NWR has taken over the responsibility of maintaining the public toilets, she said.

“Before independence there was an electric fence and now we see the neglect of the fence. The wire was always maintained. We will demand from the ministry to put up an electric fence.

“It does not matter how they get the funds. They are the ones that are responsible for the fence and must see that people's lives are not put in danger,” a committee member said.

ELLANIE SMIT

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