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Environment Ministry To Compensate Crocodile Victim’s Family

By: Annakleta Haikera

Environment and tourism ministry’s spokesperson Romeo Muyunda says they will compensate the family of Anastasia Haingura who was killed by a crocodile this past weekend.

Haingura was fishing with her cousin in the Kavango River when the incident occurred early on 2 September according to reports.

Muyunda said the ministry regrets the incident.

“It is a very unfortunate incident that has happened in which the mother of two was killed by a crocodile.

In light of the circumstances of someone who left young kids behind in such a manner, our policies are truly looking into the provision of supporting the bereaved family in the time of mourning. Our policy doesn’t have a provision to extend further than the death schemes that they offer to the bereaved family which is a maximum of N$100 000,” he said.

Muyunda stated they can not offer beyond this amount as it is the limit that the ministry can offer. “We may not be so sure what the funeral costs are but we believe that the N$100 000 will be enough to assist in a small way.”

He describes the situation as uncomfortable to speak about and that there are terms and conditions attached to the compensation.

He explains that it is difficult to engage with a family who have lost a loved one due to human-wildlife conflict.

“Just like any other schemes where we look into the investigation, such as documents of the deceased and I understand that the colleagues that are on the ground said the deceased doesn’t have any national documents, which makes it a little difficult to make the claims immediately,” said Muyunda.

He said the ministry advised the family to start the process of acquiring national documents for the deceased in order for the ministry to assist.

“The ministry also wants to start to manage the crocodile population which we understand has grown, and its contributions to many crocodile attacks on humans. We are developing a crocodile management plan, it’s a craft and has been completed and it’s just going through approval stages where we will look into minimizing the number of crocodiles in our rivers through sustainable utilisation issues like crocodile farming.”

Speaking to The Villager, Mashare constituency councilor Filliphus Mavara told said this type of human-wildlife conflict is an ongoing situation, especially in the constituency.

According to Mavara, every year, villagers lose their loved ones from crocodile and hippo attacks.

“I suggested early this year that the ministry of environment forest and tourism should venture into crocodile farms, but up until now, nothing has been done.”

The victim’s husband Vellentinus Muronga says he is devasted by the passing of his wife.

“I saw my wife and the mother of my children on Friday, the morning before the tragedy. We got married traditionally in 2018, and we have two daughters, the youngest being a year and nine months, whose still breastfeeding while the eldest is four years old. When I heard that the crocodile had caught my wife, that is when I became emotional and cried,” he said.

Muronga said he and his wife are both unemployed and they both survived by doing odd jobs. “But mainly survived through fishing and exchanged fish for maize or money.”

Haingura had become the latest victim of a human-wildlife conflict attack just a month after 43-years-old Jeremiah Muyova from Mashare village was attacked while paddling his canoe on a fishing mission.

Julia Heita

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