“We will close you down” – environment minister
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is set to take strong action against companies that do not comply with the Environmental Management Act, with the minister this week even threatening to shut down companies that remain outside the law.
The minister said that by 01 August they will take action against those companies that are in direct contravention of the Environmental Management Act of 2007 and operating without environmental clearance certificates.
This was said by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon Pohamba Shifeta when he addressed a conference on human wildlife conflict on Thursday in Windhoek.
Shifeta said that the public should understand that Namibia is a country that is guided by the rule of law and no one is above the law.
“I appeal to persons intent to undertake or undertaking listed activities, particularly land use, agricultural and industrial, that are operating without an Environmental Clearance Certificate and an Environmental Management Plan to ensure that they comply with this provision of our Act,” he said.
Shifeta said that they will close any project if it does not comply with the Act.
“The ministry understands that some of these projects are national and have significant contributions in the lives of our people by providing security, employment and income generation. However they should be taken within the current laws of this country with a valued environmental clearance certificate and environment plan in place,” he said.
Furthermore, during his address, Shifeta said that the ministry intends to review the national policy on Human Wildlife Conflict Management.
“The new policy should be focused and specific on affected areas and the specific conflict should be addressed. The policy should also have an implementation plan that outlines the human and financial resources required to deal with the problem,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ministry in terms of human wildlife incidents this year alone said there have been four fatal incidents while there have been 109 recorded cases of livestock killed and an average of 218 hectares of crops destroyed.
Shifeta added that it is evident that the widespread and serious drought in Namibia has aggravated the situation.
“People and wildlife in several places compete for the same resources. People, particularly in the Kunene region have simply invaded land set aside for wildlife by conservancies, with consequently severe conflicts ,” he said.
Shifeta acknowledged that living with wildlife often carries a cost, as there is frequent conflicts between people and wild animals, particularly elephants and predators in many areas.
The minister said that it will not be possible to eradicate all conflict between humans and wildlife, but the conflict can be managed.