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Sivaku expresses concern about veld fires in Kavango West

RUNDU, 06 AUG (NAMPA) – Councillor of Kahenge Constituency and Chairperson of the Kavango West Regional Council, Joseph Sivaku has urged residents of the region to desist from burning velds.
Sivaku told Nampa in an interview recently that people should stop burning velds, an Afrikaans word for grasslands, because this can destroy forests in a bad way.
He said people should know the importance of the environment they live in, be mindful of what it can offer and what damage a forest fire can cause.
Veld fires have over the past weeks been reported at Rupara and Nzinze village, which are about 70 kilometres (km) and 85 km west of Rundu, respectively.
The councillor explained that when a fire destroys the forest, it forces animals such as elephants in particular to come closer to people in search of food, which in turn destroys their belongings and crop fields.
“I am sure that each and every Namibian knows the importance of nature and how much it contributes to the economy and our daily lives,” said Sivaku.
He also urged lawmakers to introduce stiffer punishments to deal with anyone caught committing such acts.
The councillor noted that burning a veld contributes to global warming, which can bring about droughts like those experienced two years ago.
“Because of droughts some farmers lost their cattle, preventing them from ploughing during the ploughing season,” said Sivaku.
The Forest Act of 2001, Part six, Section 40 on the Control and Management of Fire states that no person shall light a fire or cause a fire to be lit in a community forest or a forest management area unless in the case of a community forest, the lighting of the fire has been authorised by the management authority of the community forest and done in accordance with a relevant management plan.
A person found contravening Section 40 of this Act which resorts under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) is liable to pay compensation to a person who suffers damage as a result. Failure to do that leads to imprisonment for no more than two years or a fine of N.dollars 8 000.

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