Walvis Bay – The Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) has vowed support for the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhardt Esau, against the mining of phosphate in Namibian marine waters.
The union, after only a handful of people participated in a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday at Walvis Bay, handed over a petition in which they pledged their support to the minister.
The union and its members are appealing to Esau to stand firm so that the environmental clearance certificate that was issued by the environmental commissioner Teofilius Nghitila is permanently withdrawn.
The general secretary of Nafau, Jacob Penda, during the handover of the petition said Namibia cannot take a risk for a mere “15 percent” that will not even be equally distributed among Namibians.
“Concrete information on the presentation made by NMP shows that despite 1 500 people being employed, the majority of them will be foreigners as Namibia does not have the expertise for this kind of mining. In fact, the 85 percent foreign shareholding and the exportation of the product will only benefit a few individuals at the expense of the country,” said Esau.
He appealed to government to consider the plight of Namibian workers and protect and preserve the fishing sector, which is one of the main economic and employment creators in the country.
“Phosphate has been found in many countries but why does Namibia have to take the risk? We should really take our future generation in consideration when we take our decision or declare ourselves on phosphate mining. We will be in the dustbin if Namibia allows seabed mining.”
The petition was received by a senior official Steven Ambabi who promised to forward it to the minister.
Meanwhile, ten people identifying themselves as marine phosphate activists said they do not understand why there are so many objections against the planned phosphate mining.
Apparently the group was sent by their boss, however they would not reveal who their boss is.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Gabriel Imbili said seabed mining is not an unknown activity and “has been done by fishing trawlers as well as diamond mining companies”.
“They are causing the same damages that are held against phosphate mining. People should have more understanding and be more open to phosphate mining. Otherwise how will we find out whether it is harmful? Phosphate mining should be given a chance,” he said.