THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism has called on community members and traditional leaders in the dispute of sand mining at Iiheke yaNakele and Onanime to resolve the misunderstanding without passing the blame on the Ministry.
The Ministry’s spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda made the call whilst responding to Uukwambi Traditional Authority, which at a public meeting held sometime back at Uukwangula settlement argued that the Environment and Tourism Ministry is the cause of the dispute.
“The blame is not ours, because we do not issue mining certificates,” said Chief Herman Iipumbu of Uukwambi whilst addressing the said meeting, emphasizing that the environmental clearance certificates for mining at Iiheke and Onanime sites were issued by the MET.
Muyunda said the Ministry wishes to clarify that the clearance certificates in question were issued after they were applied for by the traditional authority.
Muyunda, further pointed out that Environment and Tourism Minister, Pohamba Shifeta in March this year suspended sand mining in northern Namibia, after some affected community members petitioned his ministry arguing that they were not properly consulted before mining activities commenced.
“It should be noted further, if the environmental clearance certificate is found to have been issued on the basis of misleading information provided by the applicant, the Environmental Commissioner will not hesitate to cancel it,” Muyunda explain.
He stated that any person providing misleading information can be held criminally liable, and at the same time rejected the insinuation that the Ministry should be held liable for uncoordinated sand mining activities taking place in the Uukwambi area.
Sand mining for commercial purposes at Iiheke and Onanime started the past 20 years until its suspension earlier this year.