A NAMPOWER employee’s arrest and court appearance in connection with poaching has shone the spotlight on the parastatal’s employees abusing their access to farms.
A farmer from the Kalkfeld area in the Otjozondjupa region, where the poaching incident took place, says the community does not feel safe, as NamPower employees have access to their farms to inspect power lines.
“These people have access to all our farms and they go around doing such things; we do not feel safe at all,” says farmer Ingo Jacobi.
“I have been pointed at with a gun and shot at by a poacher; even my neighbour’s farmworkers have been shot at, but thankfully the bullets missed,” he says.
NamPower employee Joel Oxurub (48) was denied bail when he appeared in the Otjiwarongo Magistrate’s Court on Monday, as he has been convicted of illegal hunting previously.
He was arrested after an impala and two warthog carcasses were found in the back of a NamPower bakkie in the Kalkfeld area on Saturday.
Oxurub was arrested on charges of illegal hunting, the police’s crime investigations coordinator in Otjozondjupa, Naukalemo Andreas, confirmed.
The case was postponed to March next year for further investigation.
NamPower spokesperson Tangeni Kambangula confirmed that Oxurub is a NamPower employee.
“Yes, NamPower is aware that one of its employees was arrested by the Namibian Police on 7 November in the Kalkfeld area for alleged poaching,” she said.
“Since the matter is under investigation […] NamPower cannot comment on it.”
Kambangula, however, said NamPower employees need to have access to farm areas to do their work.
“In line with the provisions of the Electricity Act of 2007 and technical regulations, NamPower as a licensee is required to have access to its electricity infrastructure, such as transmission and distribution lines at all times to conduct maintenance, among other things,” she said.
“This access right is registered through a servitude and against the title deed of the farm owner,” she said.
She said although employees have the right to access they are required to obtain farm owners’ permission before entering.
“[A]ll staff members, particularly appointed operators, are required to ensure they respect the property rights of the owners through their conduct when they go outside the servitudes,” Kambangula said.
She said the company does not condone transgressions and will deal with the matter in line with the relevant company policies.