Calls to stop illegal sand mining

19 January 2021 | Environment

The City of Windhoek (CoW) has promised to focus on illegal sand mining at Groot Aub, which residents say is partly to blame for flooding at the settlement when it rains.
During a recent visit by Windhoek Mayor Job Amupanda and officials from the disaster risk department to asses flood damage, Groot Aub village development secretary John Kamure complained that illegal sand mining contributes to flooding as it leads to the natural flow of the rainwater being redirected.
Groot Aub is situated 42km south of the capital and forms part of the Windhoek Rural Constituency.
“This water, apart from damaging our properties, can also contain waterborne diseases that can affect animals as we have people who farm here. Children play in this water and they can be swept away or contract diseases. We don’t even know who has a permit and who does not have a permit to mine sand here,” Kamure said.
He added that they have asked the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to intervene, but have not yet received a response.
Speaking to Nampa, Amupanda said councillors would meet to discuss the matter and issue directives to stop illegal sand mining activities in Groot Aub until a final decision is taken on the matter.
He added that the environment ministry has been unable to take decisive action. “All they talk about is compliance and order, but this thing still continues. This area falls under the jurisdiction of the City of Windhoek now and once we sort out everything, we will put an immediate stop to this,” Amupanda said.
Contacted for comment, Ministry of Environment spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said they are aware of the illegal sand mining at the settlement and stopping these activities has been one of their priorities. “However, there are people who have been given environmental clearance certificates for mining on various conditions. It will be difficult for me to say which ones are mining and whether these are the ones with or without permits,” Muyunda said. – Nampa