Snyfontein community fears flooding

About 20 households are facing potential flooding as the water level of the Neckartal Dam continues to rise.

14 January 2021 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



Small-scale farmers who had to relocate to make way for the construction of the Neckartal Dam outside Keetmanshoop have accused the government of failing to relocate graves and uplift the now displaced community.

According to the councillor of the Berseba Traditional Authority, Cedric Thomas, government has turned a blind eye to the plight of the community and has failed to engage them in the last 18 months.

He said at least 20 households are facing potential flooding as the water levels of the now completed Neckartal Dam continue to rise.

According to him, these concerns have been brought under the attention of government officials, but have been met with silence.

“The water is just 3.5 kilometres away from Snyfontein when the dam levels stood at 42% of its capacity. There are houses in the lower part of Snyfontein which are in danger. There is a silence from government on this matter. We reported it to the office of the governor Aletha Frederick and we also had a meeting with her, but there is no definite resolution taken during that meeting,” he said.



Graves under water

Nine graves are also under water at the dam after government failed to relocate them as was agreed during consulting meetings between government officials and community leaders prior to the construction of the dam.

“We have been misled. During those meetings, government promised to bring social development projects for the displaced communities but now we are cut off from the 3 900 hectares of grazing land on which the dam was built. They are planning to fence off the dam area which means we do not even have access to the dam for fishing,” Thomas said.

He added that agricultural projects and infrastructural development initiatives were promised, but said these talks have since died down.

“Now we understand that the contract says no provision was made for these development projects. You see, we were misled with these promises so that we could give the consent for the construction of the dam,” he said.

'Attending to this challenge'

Fredericks yesterday said her office is indeed attending to the concerns raised by the Snyfontein community.

She also paid a visit to the Neckartal Dam yesterday to assess the situation.

“I am attending to this challenge of the people of Snyfontein. I visited them after Christmas to assess the situation on the ground and convened a community meeting. I was there on the ground twice. “This morning (Tuesday), a team from my office visited Snyfontein to assess and right now, I am at Neckartal. We are looking at a proposal on how to relocate those people who are staying in the riverbed,” she said.

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