Sand mining dispute not our fault: MET

30 May 2019 17:00pm
ONGWEDIVA, 30 MAY (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) called on interested parties in the disputed sand mining at Iiheke yaNakele and Onanime in the Uukwambi Traditional District to resolve the misunderstanding amicably without passing the blame to the ministry.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda made the call on Thursday responding to the Uukwambi Traditional Authority, which at a public meeting held recently 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, emphasising that the environmental clearance certificates for mining at Iiheke and Onanime sites were issued by the ministry.
In response to this, 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 pointed out that Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta ordered the suspension of the two certificates after it emerged that the communities of the two sites were not properly consulted.
“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 alluded.
He warned that “a 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 took place over the past 20 years until its suspension earlier this year after it emerged that the affected communities which petitioned the ministry were not properly consulted to give their consent.