The ministry of environment in Namibia has announced plans to review environmental clearance certificate (ECC) fees payable in an attempt to enforce stringent measures surrounding rampant illegal sand mining in the country. According to Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta, the US $20.15 payable as an application fee for the ECC is undeniably low and is currently under review given the considerable workload involved in administering the applications.
“The application process incurs a lot of other expenses for proponents, linked to amongst others the consultative processes and studies required,” said the minister when responding to questions on issues relating to sand and gravel mining activities at the Epale in Oshikoto region in the National Assembly.
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Appealing issued certificates
The minister also addressed the issue of the US $47.01 difference between applying for the ECC certificate and appealing an issued certificate. According to him, the amount paid for appeals is certainly not intended to discourage appeals and has in fact been kept low with the intention to allow all citizens to afford such services.
“It is quite low when compared to the amount of work and resources required to effectively administer appeals. Any person intending to appeal is also likely to incur legal expenses linked to the appeal and therefore amount is unlikely to be prohibitive to prospective appellants,” he said.
The minister quoted Section 50 of the Environment Act that provides any person who is aggrieved by the decision of the environmental commissioner the opportunity to appeal to the minister against the environmental commissioner’s decision.
Unregulated and illegal sand mining result in severe destruction of the environment and unrehabilitated sand mining pits pose danger to humans, livestock and wildlife.