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Marine phosphate mining case back in court

Fisheries sector workers demonstrated against phosphate mining in 2019

The High Court is set to hear the highly contested case for and against marine phosphate on Wednesday this week as the anti-phosphate movement mobilizes for a demonstration at the court.
Eagle FM spoke to mobiliser Sion Ikela who said they remained resolute against the project’s implementation in the country, reiterating that it endangers marine life and puts the jobs of thousands of fishermen in jeopardy.
Proponents for the project last year hit back at the movement for spreading propaganda and stalling job creation in the fishing sector.
“We anticipate (a huge) turn up tomorrow when we show and continue to declare that we are not ready for projects that are going to sabotage our economy. So tomorrow we are at court and I can say that the mood of the Namibian people continues to be the same as of last year. The awareness among our people has gone high because when we do this mobilization, we also educate our people,” he said.
Pressed on what impact mass-mobilization had on the final outcome of the case, Ikela said they put all hopes on the impartiality and competence of the judges.
Two years ago, Environment and tourism minister, Pohamba Shifeta was hailed for stopping the granting of an environment clearance certificate to Namibia Marine Phosphate (Pty) Ltd which could have given it a green-light to mine phosphate on Namibia’s oceans.
Shifeta’s judgment came in the wake of a public outcry which spilt into the media against endangering the country’s marine resources and crippling the fishing sector through an “experimental mining process” that had never been done before.
His judgement also came in the background of the company having coughed out lots of money towards putting together a comprehensive report in support of the mining project which had also been given a thumbs-up by independent experts.
A High Court decision by Judge Justice Uitele had given the minister the choice to conduct an appeal hearing after which he would be entitled to make a final decision on the matter.
In his ruling, Shifeta said that he gave regard to the importance of environmental protection while at the same time balancing the rights of the phosphate company and the public good.

Wonder Guchu

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