Shifeta cracks the whip

The environment minister says it is critical that the policies, plans and programmes of government do not have significant adverse impacts on environment health.

29 November 2018 | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta says all invalid licences, permits or authorisations granted without an environmental clearance certificate (ECC) must be withdrawn by 1 December.

Shifeta said proof of withdrawal must be submitted to the office of the environmental commissioner by Saturday. He said this gives officers who have violated the law by permitting activities without proof of an ECC a last chance. Shifeta was speaking in parliament this week on the challenges associated with implementing the Environmental Management Act.

He stressed that the process for acquiring an ECC is very important, in terms of ensuring the protection of the environment.

He said the undertaking of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) or scoping allows for the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social and other relevant effects of development proposals, prior to major decisions being taken and commitments being made. He said it is very important that this process is carried out, as it allows for the ministry to better plan and put in place mitigation measures to minimise impacts.

“If in the past, sand mining companies and operators had applied for environmental clearance certificates, it would have been possible to restrict that industry to certain areas and avoid it infringing on people's homesteads and crop fields, as well as damaging the environment.”

Shifeta said it would also have been possible to impose conditions on ECCs that would have compelled companies to undertake some rehabilitation measures once they had exhausted the resource.

The location of a number of green scheme farms in elephant migratory routes is another challenge that could have been avoided, he said.

According to Shifeta this could have been flagged, had a proper EIA been done. He said the recent cases of severe damage being caused by elephants to these farms are regrettable and a considerable setback to the efforts to enhance food security and boost socio-economic development through the green schemes. Shifeta said another example is small farming units in communal areas, where human-wildlife conflict could have been avoided, had the land reform ministry first obtained ECCs for all these activities.

“Furthermore, we are also aware of the exploitation of our forest resources in the Kavango West, Kavango East, Zambezi and lately the Ohangwena Region, from where high value timber is being exported with almost no local level value-addition or beneficiation.”Shifeta said his ministry called an urgent meeting with the agriculture ministry to address the issue and informed it to withdraw all timber harvesting licences granted without ECCs. “I am happy to announce that the agriculture ministry complied and all timber harvesting licenses have been withdrawn as of 26 November.” Shifeta said it is critical that the policies, plans and programmes of government do not have significant adverse impacts on the health of the environment.

“In order to enforce the Environmental Management Act and compliance with its regulations, the environment ministry, as part of its mandate, has to take serious measures to protect the environment from further damage”. He said one of the measures will be to name and shame those officers who granted invalid authorisations on behalf of competent authorities. He therefore called on all organs of state that have granted invalid licences, permits or authorisations to withdraw them with immediate effect.

“Failure to withdraw such authorisations is tantamount to furtherance of the commission of crime by those proponents who are in position of invalid documents.” He further said to date no organ of state had submitted an environmental management plan to the environmental commissioner.

However, the ministry is now working with focal persons from the different listed organs of state to address this situation. “Capacity of staff, lack of awareness among stakeholders of the Act and systemic inefficiencies are other challenges faced in the implementation of this Act.” According to Shifeta the ministry continues to take measures to address these challenges, but the lack of capacity to enforce the Act through on-the-ground inspections in the regions remains a concern.

Similar News


TradePort gets manganese green light

14 hours ago | Environment

The environment ministry has issued TradePort Namibia, one of the South African companies planning to export manganese ore through the port of Lüderitz, an environmental...

Pangolin saving scheme paying off

2 days ago - 18 February 2019 | Environment

A reward scheme introduced in 2017 by Namibian authorities and NGOs to address an alarming increase of illegal pangolin captures and trafficking has proved successful....

Lion killed at Okakarara

5 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Environment

A male lion was shot and killed this week in the Okakarara area of the Otjozondjupa Region in yet another incident of human-wildlife conflict. ...

Bird flu kills hundreds of penguins

6 days ago - 14 February 2019 | Environment

Endangered African penguins on Halifax Island off Lüderitz are under threat from the H5N8 strain of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu. The acting...

Trans-boundary wildlife crime training

1 week ago - 13 February 2019 | Environment

ELLANIE SMITCountries that make up the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA) need to provide for specialist prosecutors that have knowledge about all wildlife crime-related legislation...

No bail for repeat offenders

1 week ago - 12 February 2019 | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta says some of the 120 suspects arrested last year for wildlife crimes were repeat offenders who were out on bail for...

Moratorium on timber transport lifted

1 week ago - 08 February 2019 | Environment

The agriculture ministry has lifted the moratorium on the transportation of timber that was cut before 26 November last year. The executive director in the...

Greenpeace opposes Eskom compliance delay

1 week ago - 07 February 2019 | Environment

Greenpeace Africa is opposing Eskom's application for postponements and suspensions from complying with South Africa's Minimum Emission Standards (MES). In statement on Tuesday, Greenpeace Africa...

United against rhino poaching

2 weeks ago - 06 February 2019 | Environment

African countries are joining forces to fight against rhino poachers and come up with new and workable strategies to curb poaching. Environment deputy minister Bernadette...

Manganese culprits must pay

2 weeks ago - 01 February 2019 | Environment

Lüderitz residents have demanded an immediate moratorium on all movement of manganese ore to and from the town's harbour until sufficient social and environmental research...

Latest News

Boyfriend appears for Unam student's...

14 hours ago | Justice

Paulus Nghipulenga (27) has appeared in the Oshakati Magistrate's Court for the murder of his girlfriend on Sunday evening at Ongwediva. She was...

Shaningwa humbled

14 hours ago | Politics

The Swapo leadership has ordered Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa to halt the recall of three Swapo councillors at Rundu, pending the outcome of a politburo...

First Lady enters shack fray

14 hours ago | Infrastructure

First Lady Monica Geingos has reached out to experts to bring their ideas on how to solve the housing crisis to the attention of policymakers....

Vehicle sales hit another speed...

14 hours ago | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy – The 666 new vehicles that were sold in Namibia last month was the poorest January sales figure since 2006 and the lowest...

Marenica executes Namibian strategy

14 hours ago | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy - Marenica Energy Ltd has lodged nine exclusive prospecting licences (EPLs) with the ministry of mines and energy in Namibia over the past...

Africa Briefs

14 hours ago | Economics

SA needs to build confidence in power sectorSouth Africa needs to invest more to rebuild confidence in its ability to supply power, its energy minister...

Taxed to death

14 hours ago | Opinion

In their report titled ‘Quarterly Economics and Fixed Income 1Q 2019: What Lies Ahead in 2019?’, Simonis Storm Securities (SSS) said during recessions, among the...

TradePort gets manganese green light

14 hours ago | Environment

The environment ministry has issued TradePort Namibia, one of the South African companies planning to export manganese ore through the port of Lüderitz, an environmental...

Low Orange River threatens grape...

14 hours ago | Agriculture

The dangerously low water level of the Orange River could have a devastating impact on Namibia's production of table grapes, an important export product earning...

Load More