LEONARDVILLE – The community in Leonardville, within the Aminuis Constituency of the Omaheke Region, is currently experiencing a deep divide over the proposed exploration of uranium by Uranium One in the Stampriet Aquifer. This division was prominently highlighted during a visit by the parliament’s standing committee on natural resources to deliberate on local concerns.
According to Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA), some farmers in the area are worried about potential contamination of underground water due to the uranium exploration. Tjekero Tweya, the chairperson of the committee, emphasized the importance of listening to the community’s concerns and recommendations before the parliament makes any decision. Tweya stated, “We have come to hear you out, discuss issues as adults, and as responsible citizens. Parliament will make a decision that will affect everyone. We will not make the decision here today; we will collect your concerns and also endeavour to find solutions based on your recommendations.”
Former member of Parliament, Atti Riruako, voiced his concerns about the potential environmental impact, urging the committee to consider independent scientific research on uranium mining and its effects on underground water. Riruako’s call for a scientifically informed approach underscores the community’s anxiety about the environmental implications of the exploration.
Petra Witbooi, the chairperson of the Leonardville village council, revealed the socio-economic challenges faced by the residents. She refuted claims that Uranium One was distributing food parcels to gain support for the exploration. Witbooi highlighted the dire need for employment and food in the community, expressing dismay at the allegations against those opposing the exploration.
This visit by the parliamentary committee marks a crucial step in addressing the contentious issue of uranium mining in an area that is not only environmentally sensitive but also socio-economically significant for the local community.