UUKWANGULA - Some villagers under Uukwambi Traditional Authority have won a case against their traditional authority concerning the preservation of their natural resources.
The communities of Iiheke ya Nakele and Onanime villages, represented by their fellow community member Lukas Nantanga and Susan Herman appealed to the Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta against the awarding of environmental clearance certificates granted to Uukwambi Traditional Authority to mine sand in their villages.
Their appeal saw Shifeta suspending the two environmental clearance certificates granted to the traditional authority.
Over the past years, Uukwambi Traditional Authority and community members of Iiheke ya Nakele, Onenongo, Onanime and other surrounding villages have been on each other’s throats over sand mining at their villages.
The communities claim the practice has been destroying nature, posing danger to animals and human lives and their livelihood, while at the same time the community was not benefiting from proceeds in thousands of dollars that sand miners were paying to traditional authority.
To make matters worse, all this was done without their consent and this was a source of resentment among villagers.
Based on both Environmental Management Act No. 7 of 2007 and Traditional Authority Act No. 25 of 2002, Uukwambi Traditional Authority was compelled to seek consent to the community in order to carryout sand mining.
Communities are also supposed to profit and not be left in the dark about the amounts of money generated from the activities. Shifeta noted the traditional authority failed to carryout proper consultations and that the community was not granted an opportunity to consent or reject the sand mining.
“Property in communal land is owned communally and traditional authority is given power under Traditional Authority Act and Communal Land Reform Act to be the custodian of the land and its natural resources on behalf of their traditional communities…
“Hence, the affected communities of Onanime indeed owned the natural resources including sand and must reasonably hold the final say on the decision regarding their natural resources,” said Shifeta.
Before giving the final ruling to suspend the environmental clearance certificate possessed by the traditional authority Shifeta also noted that communities have not benefited and were left in the dark about the money generated from sand mining activities, and this was unlawful.
2019-04-02 09:31:08 6 months ago