The Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Tjekero Tweya said that Namibia has natural resources that can mitigate its energy challenges when he spoke during a courtesy visit to the Erongo Govenor’s in Swakopmund.
The meeting was part of a five-day oversight visit to the Erongo Region and included visits to Rössing Uranium, Husab Mine, Langer Heinrch Uranium Mine, Uis Tin Mining, Omusati Granite, Navachab Gold Mine and African Granite.
“As policy makers, we are elected by the rich, poor, young, old, and are obliged to make sure that the law is complied with.”
“Namibia is now rated the second biggest producer of uranium in the world, however we have a 60% energy deficit.”
“The resources that we have to address this energy need is here in Namibia and it is uranium. The time has come to change our mindset in terms of our resources,” said Tweya.
The Chairman also said that instead of pointing fingers at each other, there needs to be more dialogue to find lasting solutions in the mining sector.
“There are loopholes in the law that we need to correct and not just criticise and to blame each other. We must start talking to each other to provide alternative solutions to change the livelihoods of our people, who have given us the right and honour to be called honourables.”
“We should not confuse policies with laws. Some things only need common sense. We don’t need policies to practice common sense,” he said.
According to the Erongo Governor, Neville André, the region is fortunate to have an abundance of minerals. “These resources contribute a lot to economic activities [with] spinoffs not only to the region but also to the country,” he said.
The governor told the chairman of the Standing Committee that his office takes a stakeholder approach when mitigating operational challenges at the mines.
“We have a stakeholder approach when we have operational challenges to see how we can mitigate these challenges,” he said adding the mining inspectors are needed to assess the legality of all mining operations.
“We don’t have mining inspectors in the region to monitor explorations and mining activities so that the laws are followed,” he pointed out.
Statistics indicate that 11.1% of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) comes from mining and most of that comes from the Erongo Region, this shows how crucial the sector is to the population.
The regional governor also called on local authorities and mines to engage in talks to maximize corporate social responsibility so that it makes a lasting impact on communities.
“Nowadays we don’t see a meaningful contribution be it to road constructions or land provision. There needs to be an engagement between the mines and the local authorities so that they can work together on this. Mines are not infinite and they need to leave a lasting impact,” said André.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources will file a report on the findings of the mission to be delivered to parliament and then forwarded to the line ministries.