NFC vents fury at media over Mad Max

Authorities of the local fi lm industry say reports of massive environmental damages during the shooting of an international movie are devoid of any truth.

The Mad Max movie project was yesterday cleared by the Namibian Film Commission (NFC), following a report that recently cited destructions to the Dorob National park during the movie’s filming.

The media were yesterday dragged over the coals over their apparent “false and negative” reporting at a press briefing held in Swakopmund by the NFC, called to clear the air over the allegations.

The investigation followed after some damming findings came out in a report on the destruction caused in Dorob and were reported on in the local press.

These included that the permit granted to the Mad Max: Fury Road movie was “flawed”. The permit and environmental clearance granted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to the Mad Max makers was not sufficiently specific as to guide the management of environmental compliance of the project. This led to several contraventions of the law both by the ministry and the Mad Max project, the report stated.

However, according to the NFC board commissioner, Obed Emvula, the Mad Max production has not violated any Namibian laws.

Emvula attack recent articles about the project of being false and negative.

“Articles such as the ones published in daily newsprints accusing government of administrative confusion, or total neglect, non-compliance with the constitutional law particularly pertaining to conservation, and the ability to protect the environment, must be taken to task.

“We will not tolerate any untruths especially those that are intended to damage the country’s good reputation. These allegations will not go unchallenged,” he said.

Emvula also pointed out that the rehabilitation process of the Dorob took place during filming and the process is scheduled to be finalised by the end of March.

“It appears premature for the activities to be assessed until work is completed.”

According to him, the NFC issued a film permit to Mad Max: Fury Road on October 17, 2011 which was forwarded to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. A permit was issued subject to the provision of the environmental management plan and a detailed filming plan with location sites and rehabilitation methodology, says Emvula.

It was stressed that an environmental clearance for the project was also issued by the ministry after an environmental management plan was submitted and approved.

According to Emvula, on-site visits as required by the Act were done to various locations such as Collin’s Road, Blanky Flats, Rössing Mountain, Death Valley Base, Black Ridge, Oasis Road and the Moonscape.

High level discussions were held with stakeholders including the film industry, Namibian Coast Conservation and Management Project (Nacoma) , the environment ministry and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, as well as the Swakopmund Municipality. “Following these engagements we gave Mad Max a clean bill,” Emvula stressed.

The Mad Max project invested about N$100 million in the form of revenue to local businesses and private individuals in the Erongo Region, said Emvula.

This does not include the considerable personal expenditure by the film crew made to local shops, restaurants, lodges and tourist attractions. The project employed over 900 Namibians, excluding sub-contractors and suppliers.

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