The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism says illegal sand mining which it has been trying to regulate over the years remains a challenge.
Minister Pohamba Shifeta said this today in his annual address, adding that the ministry is working closely with Traditional Authorities and the Namibian Police to effectively regulate sand mining.
“Illegal sand mining remains a challenge and the ministry is working closely with Traditional Authorities and Nampol to better regulate the ever-increasing sand mining activities. The Ministry has also developed draft regulations specific to sand mining in terms of the Environmental Management Act to improve coordination and regulation of this difficult challenge,” he said.
In 2021 the ministry crafted new regulations for sand and gravel mining following a national outcry about how sand and gravel extraction activities are being conducted.
Moreover, he said a total 1600 applications for environmental clearance were received last year, and over 75 percent environmental clearance certificates were issued, especially for activities related to hazardous substances, infrastructure development, land rezoning and mining.
During the meeting the Minister touched on the contentious issue of Human Wildlife Conflict. Shifeta added that although there has been a decline in Human Wildlife Conflict cases reported over the past year, it still presents a challenge for the ministry.
“Human Wildlife Conflict remains an inevitable challenge that Government and communities have to jointly manage. It is pleasing to see the reduction in Human Wildlife Conflict cases from 590 in 2021 to 372 cases in 2022. Human Wildlife Conflict Cases reported in 2022 includes 126 cases of crop damages for which over N$356,000 was paid to affected community members. In addition, over N$580 thousand was paid for the 206 cases of losses recorded. A total of 18 people were paid a combined total of N$180,000 for injuries caused by wild animals and 15 peoples’ lives were tragically lost due to crocodile, hippo and elephant attacks and a total of N$1.5 million was paid out to the families as funeral assistance,” he added
Subsequent to numerous injuries and fatalities in the two Kavango regions, as crocodile attacks on human beings continue to threaten the lives of residents, independent candidate and National Council Member of Parliament (MP) Paulus Mbangu last month called on the government to get its priorities right.