Onanime sand mining irks

22 July 2019 | Local News

The community of Onanime village in the Oshana Region continues to demand an end to all sand mining at their village.

The community says the Uukwambi Traditional Authority (UTA) is giving business people the right to mine sand at their village without consulting or compensating them.

On Saturday the community staged a peaceful demonstration against the latest sand mining activities by prominent businessman Ben Zaaruka of Benz Building and Stantoll Properties.

Community spokesperson Susan Herman said they were not consulted before Zaaruka started mining sand at the village and all their efforts to meet him were in vain.





“Zaaruka failed to provide us with an environmental clearance certificate and proof of minutes for consultative meetings held with the community. On several occasions, the Onanime Sand Mining Committee tried to invite him for meetings so that we could discuss the issue but he is always giving us excuses,” said Herman.

“Among the excuses he gave us were that he was preparing to go and attend founding father Sam Nujoma's birthday, secondly he said the letter we sent him had no agenda. Lastly he told us that he was going to attended Advocate Vekuii Rukoro's wedding.”

Herman said the sand mining continues without the community deriving any benefit.

When contacted for comment, Onanime village headman Primus Hango said he does not live at the village and is unaware of what is going on there.

“I have my assistants at the village and they did not tell me anything of such nature. Regarding how Zaaruka got the right to mine sand there, it is the responsibility of the Uukwambi Traditional Authority. They are the ones who allocate such land rights. The village heads only assist them by providing such land in question if it is available,” Hango said.

UTA spokesperson Reinhold Iita could not be reached for comment as his cellphone was off, while Zaaruka said on Saturday and yesterday that he could not talk because he was attending a cultural event at Okahandja.

In March this this year, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta ordered the suspension of certificates granted to the UTA for sand mining at Ekamba village and Onanime after the same community protested that they had not been consulted.

Shifeta said the communities had proven that there had been no public consultation and UTA was urged to comply with the law.

The environmental commissioner was instructed to facilitate consultation between the parties.

ILENI NANDJATO

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