Ongwediva — A one-day workshop on sand mining here has resolved that all illegal sand mining activities be halted while the affected businessmen acquire environmental clearance certificates.
"No one is being denied to mine sand, but it should be done procedurally. These pits if left unattended are not safe for both human beings and livestock," says Environment and Tourism Minister, Pohamba Shifeta, who attended the workshop Thursday. It was also further agreed that all pits will be rehabilitated.
Where the miner is known, they will be traced to rehabilitate the pits. Where they are unknown, the ministry will see how best to rehabilitate them.
Meanwhile, businessmen were not pleased with the outcome of the meeting. They felt aggrieved by the ministry's reject to allow them to continue mining while they acquire clearance certificates. They feel that the idling of the machines is not only a loss to their companies but also to the multitude of employees at their sites.
Shifeta says the public can sue illegal sand miners for the loss of the lives of relatives in un-rehabilitated trenches. He says perpetrators can face criminal charges and be sued for civil damages. Apart from the pits in the rural areas, there are several others along the roads, posing a threat to motorists. In some areas, homesteads and crop fields have been relocated to pave way for sand mining. Shifeta thus appeals to the community to refrain from allowing sand mining in their crop fields.
According to him, mining in the crop fields does not only pose a threat to the inhabitants of the house and its neighbours, but also to food security. He says applications to mine sand in crop fields will not be entertained.