KHORIXAS, 29 APR – The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta on Friday called on traditional authorities to put customary laws into practice within their respective conservancies.
Shifeta made the call during the inauguration of three predator-proof kraals and an early warning system for human-wildlife conflict at Bergsig in the Khorixas constituency of the Kunene Region.
“Some traditional authorities are not applying customary laws as they should be, while others are allowing community members to walk away with offenses,” he said.
Shifeta emphasised that customary laws are there to ensure discipline at community level and to create reconciliation when a certain member of the community has done something wrong.
He alluded that traditional authorities still have the power to permit community members in their respective conservancies if and when to hunt as people cannot hunt without regulation.
“Even before conservancies were introduced people could not just wake up and hunt animals like they want, it is the traditional authorities that should give that permission,” he said.
He noted that powers of traditional authorities are now formalised by the community Court Act 10 of 2003 that give them rights to trial and issue fines.
“If traditional authorities properly exercise the act, that means we will have well-disciplined communities. Even our children will grow up in orderly societies as they will understand the do’s and don’ts,” he said.
The minister added that nowadays, communities are a mess because nobody fears anybody, including properties, compared to past years when traditional authorities played a vital role in communities.
He said that if people are aware and respect traditional authorities at a community level, crimes such as illegal hunting will diminish.