Communication failure threatens rock art

17 February 2021 | History

JANA-MARI SMITH

The environment ministry denies any knowledge of a resolution to withdraw the environmental clearance certificates (ECCs) issued to mining companies accused of the annihilation of prehistoric rock art in the Erongo Region.“The ministry is not aware of the decision. Maybe that is the intention of the National Heritage Council of Namibia,” ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said on Friday.

Muyunda explained that an ECC can only be withdrawn “if all the impact cannot be mitigated. This process must be initiated by the concerned party to the environment commissioner who will assess whether or not the concerns warrant a withdrawal.”

During a stakeholder meeting with the Otjohorongo community this past weekend, the Heritage Council confirmed that a joint stakeholder meeting held in November 2020 resolved for the “ministry of environment, tourism and forestry [to] withdraw all ECCs at both sites and thereafter engage the affected parties in those areas.”

The sites include the Otjohorongo granite hills and Farm Gross Okandjou.

Moreover, that these archaeological sites “should be classified and demarcated as a ‘withdrawn areas’ from prospecting and mining licences.”

The Heritage Council said the resolutions included the decision that all mining activities should “cease in conjunction with the commencement of the rehabilitation process at both sites.”

Gone

A team that investigated the impact of mining at Otjohorongo granite hills and Farm Gross Okandjou last year found that archaeological resources in these areas had “already been destroyed in the course of mining. Such damage is irreversible, which translates to permanent loss of archaeological resources.”

The basis for the withdrawal of the ECCs is centred not only on the destruction of archaeological heritage resources, but also on incomplete environmental impact assessments.

The team found that the ECCs were issued on assessments that failed to assess the potential impact of mining on heritage components, as required by law.

In response, Muyunda confirmed that “this in one area that requires to be strengthened in the overall process of issuing EIAs.”

He added however that the withdrawal of an ECC “is usually the last resort. For now, companies are required to comply to the conditions imposed by the National Heritage Council of Namibia in regards to the protection of these sites.”

Contradiction

The assessment on the impact of large-scale granite and marble mining activities found that there had already been cases of “outright destruction” of the prehistoric art in the areas.

Both sites were deemed important archaeological sites with local, regional and global importance.

Muyunda last week confirmed said “where ECCs were issued, any malicious observations must be reported to the office of the environmental commissioner or relevant stakeholder.”

The Heritage Council last year confirmed that the environment ministry, the mines and energy ministry and the Heritage Council held joint meetings to discuss the destruction of prehistoric art by mining activities in February and November.

Blasts

Community activist Abiud Karongee expressed concern about the contradicting information given by the authorities.

In addition, he praised the Heritage Council for their proactive stance to assist the community in having the area declared a no-go zone for mining, and to designate them as protected areas.

The community however say the battle is not yet won.

Karongee said reports have been made that mining is ongoing at some sites.

“Trucks are going in and out, they are in full steam. No one has really been officially informed. Only the environment ministry can act.”

He said the community was waiting for an official document declaring the area a no-go zone.

“We are waiting for the area to be put under protection officially. So, while we wait for the environment ministry to act, we can assist to help monitor and stop any unethical and illegal activities within these protected areas. We need documents however, otherwise, we can’t do anything.”

Similar News

 

Communication failure threatens rock art

2 weeks ago - 18 February 2021 | History

JANA-MARI SMITHThe environment ministry denies any knowledge of a resolution to withdraw the environmental clearance certificates (ECCs) issued to mining companies accused of the annihilation...

Prehistoric rock art rescued

2 weeks ago - 15 February 2021 | History

JANA-MARI SMITHWINDHOEKOtjohorongo community activists and a Namibian farmer have chalked up a hard-fought victory against mining companies in the Erongo Region after authorities resolved to...

German genocide offer 'unacceptable' - Ngavirue

6 months ago - 13 August 2020 | History

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKThe Namibian government has dismissed a financial offer made by the German government to atone for the 1904-08 Nama and Ovaherero genocide as “unacceptable”.The...

Govt under fire for 'liberation struggle favouritism'

7 months ago - 29 July 2020 | History

JEMIMA BEUKESWINDHOEKA report by the parliamentary standing committee on constitutional and legal affairs has revealed that some communities feel government only commemorates events related to...

April 1 no fool’s day for Swapo

11 months ago - 01 April 2020 | History

STAFF REPORTERWINDHOEKThe former chief of staff of Swapo’s armed wing PLAN, Charles Namoloh, says it is time the nation recognised the historical importance of 1...

Heritage sites closed

11 months ago - 19 March 2020 | History

ELLANIE SMIT All heritage sites in Namibia are closed until further notice.This follows a directive by the education, arts and culture...

WBCG grows regional economies

1 year - 20 November 2019 | History

CATHERINE SASMANSince the establishment of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) 19 years ago, trade volumes from neighbouring countries have grown from zero to more...

SADC’s pride

1 year - 19 November 2019 | History

LEANDREA LOUW Namibia has now joined countries such as Australia, Brazil, Dubai and the Netherlands in the utilisation of reclaimed land for port expansion.The...

A pilgrimage to Hornkranz

1 year - 07 March 2019 | History

There is a bliss one cannot put a price on that envelops the rocky plains of Hornkranz, the former headquarters of the late Nama chief...

Northern railway on hold

2 years ago - 11 February 2019 | History

?With phase one and two of the Ondangwa-Oshakati railway line extension project complete, the project is currently on hold while the works ministry waits for...

Latest News

Letshego Nam takes N$60-mln profit...

4 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – Locally-listed Letshego Holdings Namibia reported a profit of about N$341.4 million for the year ended 31 December 2020, a drop of nearly...

Otjikoto sitting on a gold...

14 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – B2Gold’s Otjikoto mine is expected to reach record-level production this year and through to 2024, the Canada-based low-cost international senior gold producer...

Mining survey: Chamber hits back

14 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKU Too few responses have skewed Namibia's performance on the 2020 Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies, tarnishing its image as an attractive investment...

‘Not up to you’

14 hours ago | Education

TUYEIMO HAIDULA ONGWEDIVA Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi says institutions of higher learning...

Sioka in hot water over...

14 hours ago | Ministries

JANA-MARI SMITH WINDHOEKThe clock is ticking for child welfare minister Doreen Sioka who has less than a month to present a...

Corruption - A social disease...

14 hours ago | Columns

Johan CoetzeeGiven ongoing media articles about governance, manifested in contraction of investment and increasing unemployment, it is appropriate to reflect on several trends covering several...

EDITORIAL

14 hours ago | Opinion

The phony attempts by mainly men in the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) to undermine its president Esther Muinjangue will only further dissuade women from...

Drought policy in review to...

14 hours ago | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEKThe agriculture ministry is in the process of reviewing the country’s drought...

Nam mining licence loophole closed

14 hours ago | Business

From the beginning of April this year, Namibians who hold mineral licences will no longer be allowed to transfer it to foreign companies or persons...

Load More