administrative law

Tiny, remote Namibian clan claims world renowed Etosha National Park as ancestral land

Perhaps they didn’t realise it, but when eight members of Namibia’s Hai||om people went to court for what they claimed was their traditional land, they raised a number of other burning socio-political issues as well. The Hai||om live in a remote northern area of Namibia, overlapping the pristine Etosha National Park, environmentally sensitive and a major world tourist attraction for the country. Could the eight litigants claim the entire park as ancestral land, acting in a representative capacity for all the Hai||om people?

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The eight applicants wanted the court to agree that they could represent the minority Hai||om people. That established, they wanted to claim the entire world-famous Etosha National Park – all 23,150 sq kms of it – together with other significant tracts of land. They said this was their ancestral land, and they were being prevented from using it. Failing return of the land, they wanted compensation in land or money.

Local shooting club targets Namibian defence force

In a bizarre case, due to be heard in the Namibian courts next week, the country’s defence force is alleged to have taken over the premises of a private shooting club outside the town of Rehoboth just before Christmas. The club says the army changed the locks and warned that the site is now off limits to the public as it is a “military zone” – all of this without notice or warning. The club is fighting back against this military might, by making an application for a spoliation order.

Not all Namibians received the presents they wanted this past Christmas. Members of the Rehoboth Shooters Club, for example, found an extremely unwanted and unexpected “gift” delivered to their local club just days before Christmas. That gift, courtesy of the country’s defence force, was a substantial new chain and padlock on the club’s gate. This replaced the club’s own lock, cut off and removed by the army.

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