Cabo Delgado’s Land, Environment and Rural Development Ministry is scheduled to appeal to the prosecutor’s office to force Augustinho Ntauali, former Pemba mayor, to stop extracting sand on the outskirts of the provincial capital, citing his lack of an environmental license.
Ntauali has been warned several times to suspend activities, but has not complied.
The controversy around the illegal extraction of sand for construction along Pemba’s approach roads in the Muxara neighbourhood dates back to September last year when the department ordered its immediate cessation, but 10 months later routine excavations continue.
The provincial environmental department’s Augusto Assane says that Ntauali is challenging the institution’s integrity by excavating without the necessary environmental permits or environmental management plan.
Assane adds that the excavation’s proximity to the national highway makes the situation all the more troubling because it makes the area vulnerable to progressive erosion.
“It is an imminent danger, so we took the decision to suspend the excavations. It was a precautionary measure to avoid the worst but, unfortunately, we are being challenged, even though we drew the individual’s attention to the facts several times”.
“If nothing else, there are third-party assets around the mine, such as a Chinese company operating there and a mobile phone antenna, so it is not an appropriate location for such activity”.
Reportedly, Ntauali went to the Lands, Forestry and Rural Development Department to explain that he had found a business partner with whom he planned to develop in the area, and was making some improvements to the site.
He was asked to present project plans as required by law, but never returned with them.
Jornal Notícias approached Ntauali for comment on the matter, but he declined, claiming that he had no time to talk to the reporter, and was unable to say when he might be available.
Source: Jornal Notícias
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