The Ondonga Traditional Authority has been ordered to halt all sand-mining activities at Ondando village near Oniipa in the Oshikoto region in Namibia.
Enviromental Commissioner Timotheus Mufeti gave the orders and said that the suspension was effected because of non-compliance with the conditions of the environmental clearance certificate for sand and gravel mining activities at the Ondando sandpit.
Some of the contraventions observed by Mufeti include; the disturbance and intersecting of the underground water at the site, and the construction and operation of a gravel road to and from the site without appropriate authorisation.
“Consequently, the Ondonga Traditional Authority has been issued with a compliance order, and are hereby ordered to immediately stop sand mining at Ondando borrow pit till further notice. The authority should rectify all non-compliance by 31 August,” said Mufeti.
Failure to comply with his order would result in his office taking legal action against the traditional authority, which, upon conviction could be fined N$500 000. Should the traditional authority wish to object to his decision, it should do so within 14 days of receipt of the order.
The environmental commissioner also notified Oshikoto police regional commander Armas Shivute, police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga, and minister of environment, forestry and tourism Pohamba Shifeta about the suspension and non-compliance order for sand and gravel mining at the Ondando pit.
“The borrow pit and all associated sand and gravel removal activities are therefore considered illegal and must be stopped and discontinued with immediate effect. I hereby request your good office to support our office in sealing off all the entrances to the side. Lastly, our office requests further assistance in combating any other illegal sand mining and gravel removal activities in the Oshana region,” he said.