Whose Dorob do you destroy?
The MAD MAX issue is per se not on the agenda for Swakopmund Matters. However, nobody should turn a blind eye to what has happened in this particular case [and we must] guard against it ever happening again – not only with film crews – but more importantly with others who want to establish ventures in the Dorob.
The shocking details of the Mad Max mess now emerging must serve as a constant reminder in future that administrative confusion can cause laws and regulations to be implemented poorly. Once a slippery road of leniency and non-compliance is entered, weakness is revealed and it affords opportunists ample chance for exploitation.
Slowly but surely the full scope of what happened before and during the filming of Mad Max will be known. In recent days several local newspapers carried well-informed articles about the devastation that the filming of MAD MAX has left in its wake due to deficient implementation of law and application of accompanying regulations. A Report on the full scope of the destruction in the Dorob was commissioned at the end of 2012. That report is yet to be released in full.
Many issues that are inexplicable and incomprehensible are already listed:
Permission was granted by an official who, in terms of applicable legislation and relevant regulations, is neither designated nor authorised to grant such permission or sign any permit allowing such activity in the Dorob.
Few, if any, of all the preparatory work and studies were completed and duly submitted before that permission was granted. No environmental impact assessment was ever done and therefore the potential impact from the film was not sufficiently scrutinized. The approval granted was not based on an informed decision.
Regulations requiring supervision to be diligently performed were not adhered to. Little was ever done to ensure that no harm is caused to the fragile environment. That void left the filming team ample room to behave as they want in free-for-all circumstances and with a blatant couldn’t-care-less attitude, knowing full well that they can perform to their own hearts’ delight and with absolute impunity.
It is therefore not surprising that the film director and producer, Australian born George Miller, has now earned himself the ignominious title and reputation of “The Destructor of the Dorob”.
It is now the right time for all those who are entrusted by law to be the guardians of Namibia’s environment to demonstrate forcefully that they are indeed committed to uphold all these laws.
Let it be clear: Swakopmund Matters is not against progress or development. By all means let it come – but then in a structured and coordinated way and in accordance with the Constitution which demands a sustainable environment for current and future generations. Due recognition of what Namibia stands for environmentally must be taken seriously.