22 May 2019 10:40am
UUKWANGULA, 22 MAY (NAMPA) The Uukwambi Traditional Authority cannot be blamed for the illegal sand extraction at Iiheke yaNakele and Onanime, which fall in its area of jurisdiction, its Chief Herman Iipumbu has said.
Iipumbu made the remarks during a meeting with the visiting Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources which took place at the Uukwangula settlement on Tuesday.
He stated that instead, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism is to blame for issuing the environmental clearance certificate for sand mining at the two sites.
The ministry in December last year issued the certificate in question to the traditional authority, which Minister Pohamba Shifeta suspended in March this year until the traditional authority, sand miners and the affected members of the community consult each other and decide on how they will share the profits derived from sand mining.
This followed a petition by the community members from both sites to the ministry to suspend the sand mining on the grounds that they were not properly consulted before the activities commenced.
Local business people have been extracting sand at Iiheke yaNakele and Onanime for commercial purposes for more than 20 years, without any benefits going to the affected villagers.
The blame is not ours because we do not issue mining certificates, Iipumbu fumed, adding that the certificate was issued by the ministry.
The six-member Parliamentary Standing Committee, headed by Agnes Kafula, also held a meeting with the community of Iiheke yaNakele on Tuesday, where they were taken on a tour of the site to see the damage caused by the miners.
No further sales of sand or otherwise raw materials from Iiheke yaNakele site will be entertained, warned the spokesperson of the Iiheke yaNakele Community Committee, Lukas Nantanga, while presenting a document containing their grievances to the delegation.
Kafula said her committee will compile a report on their findings for discussion in the National Assembly.