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SHIFETA TO HEAR SAND MINING CASE

By: Dwight Links and Hellen Andreas

The minister of environment, Pohamba Shifeta, is scheduled to be part of a hearing between the Ondando-C village members and the Ondonga Traditional authority.

Ondando-C village is in the Oniipa area, Oshikoto region.

The hearing is the next step after the environment commissioner Timotheus Mufeti instructed the traditional authority to cease the mining activity.

The notice does not show where the venue for the hearing would be, but the time is 11h30.

“Both the residents and the traditional authority will present themselves on time, and present their respective points of argument,” Wilma Moller, the environment ministry secretary of appeal said in the notice to the parties.

Moller indicated that only one person from each side will be allowed to present and speak throughout the hearing.

“However, each party may come with a reasonable number of people for the consultation,” she said.

Mufeti said the concerns came from the community that did not agree with the environmental clearance certificate the mining companies presented.

Two activists, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the community was approached for a different project which should have been the construction of a kindergarten.

“We had signed a document that spoke of a kindergarten, but the document that was shown to the affected residents of the village by the mining companies was an environmental clearance certificate that means that a public consultation would have taken place,” one the activists said.

The residents also said their signatures were allegedly used for the approval and issuance of the environmental clearance certificate.

Another reason for the halt in mining was that there was no environmental impact assessment that was done.

The Ondonga traditional authority was given 14 days to raise any objections from the receipt of the notice that Mufeti sent on 23 June and were given until 31 August to rectify any non-compliance.

There were various contraventions that formed the basis of Mufeti’s reaction, like the disturbance and intersecting of the underground water at the mining site.

Also, the construction and operation of a gravel road to the site that also did not have the adequate authorisation.

Julia Heita

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