By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network
NEW YORK, 24 April 2023 (IDN) — If you’re going to bulldoze someone’s land, pollute water sources and drill for oil, get permission.
That’s what Gobonamang Kgetho, a local fisherman, is holding against a Canadian oil and gas firm exploring in the oil-rich Kavango Basin of Namibia, driving through in bulldozers, damaging lands, polluting waters and causing rivers to dry up. And where were their permits?
Namibia’s environment minister, Tom Alweendo, could probably revoke the drilling license of ReconAfrica. But if past practice is anything to go by, the chances are slim.
Alweendo maintains Canadian ReconAfrica has a right to explore for oil, saying that European countries and the U.S. do it too. Also, it follows the African Union’s goal of using both renewable and non-renewable energy to meet growing demand, he said.
ReconAfrica has been drilling in the area since 2021 but without success. A hearing scheduled for last week has been postponed until further notice. The drilling license is currently set to last until 2025.
The company was previously granted a three-year extension.
Namibia’s high court has postponed a decision on whether local communities should pay for filing a case opposing the company’s actions. A new date for the decision is set for May.
In a separate development, the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) has offered Lionel Matthews N$230 000 (US$16,800) per month to lead the national oil company, but the former banker was reportedly unhappy with the offer, saying he earned more—N$350 000 (US $19,300)—a month at Nedbank.
Christine Aochamus, national general secretary of Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) faulted the high salary offer.
“A CEO should not earn more than 30 times what the lowest-paid worker at Namcor is earning”, she said. “Plus, such a salary would only be justified if the company was highly profitable and was paying its shareholders good dividends.”
The CEO added: “Since this is not the case, it would be better to pay top management lower fixed salaries, but with a sizable bonus upon good performance of the company”.
Matthews would replace former Namcor managing director Immanuel Mulunga. Removed earlier this month, he is accused of making an unauthorized payment of N$100 million for an oil block in Angola. [IDN-InDepthNews]
Image: The Canadian ReconAfrica holds a 90% interest in a petroleum exploration licence in northeast Namibia, covering the entire Kavango sedimentary basin. Source: ReconAfrica.
IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.
We believe in the free flow of information. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, except for republished articles with permission.