10 Feb 2019 18:20pm
UUKWANGULA, 10 FEB (NAMPA) Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga on Friday here advised the Iiheke ya Nakele Community Committee (INCC) to lodge its complaints regarding ongoing sand mining with the relevant institutions.
The INCC, led by Lukas Nantanga as its spokesperson, held a meeting with Mushelenga at Uukwangula settlement when it attempted to lure the minister to intervene in the disputed sand mining at Iiheke ya Nakele cultural site.
The committee wants an environmental certificate granted to the miners to be revoked, arguing that it is granted for wrong business.
Nantanga told Mushelenga during the meeting that mining at the Iiheke ya Nakele cultural site is tantamount to destruction and is depriving the community of their crucial historic site.
He described the site as also a historic source of underground fresh water for human and livestock consumption and a site where quality clay for traditional pottery are collected from time immemorial.
According to Nantanga, community members surrounding the Iiheke ya Nakele (in the Uukwambi Traditional Authority of the Oshana Region) are not happy with the way sand is being shipped out of the traditional community for years without any economic benefits for them.
Ekamba, Oshuulo, Onenongo, Olulongo and Ondangwa, Nantanga said, are villages with a population of over 3 000 being deprived of their local economic benefits as a result of the mining of sand at Iiheke ya Nakele over the past 25 years.
The INCC blames the Uukwambi Traditional Authority for allowing the environmental clearance certificate to be granted to the miners, who are shipping out sand from for commercial purposes without the consent of the community.
Iiheke ya Nakele requires protection by law. It requires to be accorded conservancy status in accordance with the National Heritage Act of 2004, because it contains one or more specific natural features which are of outstanding inherent rarity, Nantanga emphasised.
Mushelenga in turn informed the committee that its demands are not for his ministry, but for other institutions such as the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the National Heritage Council.
The issue has been a bone of contention between miners, Uukwambi Traditional Authority on one hand and community members on the other.
Iiheke ya Nakele is situated some 15 kilometres west of Oshakati.