Shifeta fights for San rights
Environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta is prepared to personally ensure that the illegal settlers who were ordered last month to vacate the Na#Jaqna Conservancy within two months will do so.
“What we will do is to ensure that the rights of the San are protected. I will go there myself at the end of the 60 days if people are still there illegally. I will definitely take it up,” he told Namibian Sun.
He said to his knowledge none of the 22 individuals ordered to leave had lodged an appeal.
He warned that if should they refuse to adhere to the court order, without appealing, “It means it’s just arrogance, people who don’t consider the rights of others. And because the San are a vulnerable community, they think they can just stay on.”
But Shifeta said he and his team are keeping a close eye on the situation and would not hesitate to step in if anyone refuses to comply. “We are following this with a keen interest.”
He warned that if any of the respondents “think it will just go away, over my dead body. Government is obliged to enforce this court order.”
Shifeta said the judgement is a “clear order. Whatever they say now, it doesn’t hold any water. They can appeal, but they have not appealed … if they knew they had a case, they would have appealed in court.”
He underlined the importance of the constitution which protects the fundamental rights of all people in Namibia, noting that while the San had been given the rights over their conservancy the “powerful come and overrun the vulnerable”.
He said “in this case the government has an obligation to defend and uphold the rights and freedoms” not just of all people, but in particular of the poor and vulnerable.