31 Mar 2019 11:20am
UUKWANGULA, 31 MAR (NAMPA) Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta on Friday ordered the suspension of the environmental clearance certificates for sand mining issued to the Uukwambi Traditional Authority in December last year.
The environmental commissioner granted the two certificates for sand at Iiheke Ya Nakele and Onanime.
In the presence of hundreds members of the affected Ekamba, Onenongo and Onanime communities, Shifeta ordered the suspension of the certificates until proper consultations are held and an agreement is reached by all parties.
He also ordered that the affected communities should benefit from the income accrued from sand mining in their respective areas.
Members of the affected communities, Lukas Nantanga for Iiheke Ya Nakele and Susan Herman for Onanime, during hearings held on 22 February this year appealed against the environmental commissioners decision to grant the certificates.
Shifeta presided over the hearings in February.
The appellants pleaded for the minister to suspend the environmental clearance certificate in order to allow the parties to negotiate, he said while delivering his judgment on Friday.
He at the same time emphasised that Uukwambi Traditional Authority representative at the hearings and member of the Chief Council, Reinhold Iita failed to substantiate that affected communities were consulted before the issuing of the certificates as required by the Environmental Management Act.
Members of the affected communities took to the street to celebrate their victory, shortly after Shifeta ordered the suspension of the two certificates.
We are very happy with the ruling, this is just an appeal victory so we have a long way to go, Nantanga said, adding that the community, traditional authority and other stakeholders will decide on the way forward.
On her part, Herman described Shifetas decision as fair and said it is what the affected communities have been asking for.
We are looking forward to working together to ensure that what we have been asking for, is implemented, said Herman.
Oshana regional councillor for Okatana Constituency, Rosalia Shilenga-Mateus and her counterpart from the Oshakati West Constituency, Johannes Andreas were also present as Shifeta delivering his judgement.