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• ELIZABETH MWENGO
THE chief executive officer of the Namibian Industrial Development Agency (Nida) Mihe Gaomab has refuted allegations that over 100 head of cattle have died at the Kavango Cattle Ranch in the Mangetti area of the Kavango West region.
This follows regional councillors' surprise visit to the ranch recently, where they were allegedly greeted by a number of cattle carcasses lying around the cattle camps.
Nida is believed to have over 10 000 head of cattle under its care at the ranch that are housed in 38 cattle posts. However, the ranch has allegedly been abandoned, leaving livestock roaming around unattended.
During the visit, the councillors allegedly found about 31 rotten carcasses of cattle that died due to alleged negligence at the farm.
Kavango West regional councillor Joseph Sikongo said Nida has no capacity to manage the Kavango Cattle Ranch on a commercial basis.
He said the situation at the ranch was brought to their attention when employees at the ranch moved from the camps after one of them was attacked by an elephant and died. Other employees escaped another elephant attack in 2020 and the situation has sparked fear among the employees.
In an interview with The Namibian on Wednesday, Gaomab denied the allegations that about 100 head of cattle died. Instead, he noted less than 10 cattle deaths.
“Regrettably, we did not take timely measures with the carcasses, in terms of burying them for sanitation purposes,” said Gaomab.
However, allegations are that the Nida leadership instructed employees at the ranch to bury all the cattle that had died before the media and the leadership of the Kavango West regional council visited.
Meanwhile, the employees working at the ranch have requested a danger allowance of N$1 000, but they only received N$500, as Gaomab said Nida could not afford the N$1 000 due to the economic hardship faced by the country.
The CEO said the employees will be deployed to their posts, and Nida together with Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform will drill boreholes for elephants and fence off the ranch.