KATIMA MULILO - The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has ordered the Katima Mulilo Town Council (KMTC) to close its waste disposal site with immediate effect after the town council failed to enforce a mandatory compliance order dating back to August 2016.
The environment ministry issued a compliance order in 2016 for council to relocate the dumpsite due to environmental and health risks. The town council at the time asked for an extension of six months, however two years down the line the town council is yet to comply with the order.
In a letter addressed to Katima CEO Raphael Liswaniso (seen by New Era) the environmental ministry ordered council to “permanently close the Katima Mulilo Waste Site by the 17th of August 2018”. Council has also been ordered to “immediately submit the decommissioning plan to this office (environment ministry) for approval within 21 days of receiving this compliance order; and implement the decommissioning plan and rehabilitate the site on or before the 26th of October 2018”.
The ministry further threatened to take legal action against the town council if it failed to comply with the order and this action could see the town council being hit with a fine of N$500,000 according to section 20 of the Environmental Act of 2007.
Contacted for comment Liswaniso confirmed he received the compliance order from the environment ministry, he however explained they have appealed to Minister Pohamba Shifeta because at the moment they do not have an alternative but to continue dumping at the current dumpsite.
“We have appealed and we are waiting for the minister to pronounce himself. We had identified a dumpsite in Liselo area, but things did not work out, and since we do not have an alternative will continue dumping at the current dumpsite, because we cannot dump in town,” said Liswaniso.
The Katima Mulilo Town Council took a resolution to relocate the dumpsite, which is situated in close proximity to the Katima Mulilo Unam Campus and the Zambezi Vocational Centre, back in 2014.
However, four years down the line nothing has been done and the dumpsite continues to pose a serious health hazard. Students from the two institutions have on several occasions held peaceful demonstrations but all has been in vain.