Environment

Briefly

The area has a comparatively high average rainfall, with the coastal and mountain regions receiving over 1000mm per annum. Snow is not uncommon at high altitudes in winter, but the remainder of the country is temperate with high sub-tropical temperatures along the coast in summer.

The summer rainy seasons are sub tropically warm and pleasant, while the winters are mild and fine (and pleasant). High temperatures in January (mid summer) reach about 28 degrees C, and in June (winter) about 21 degrees, with lows of 17 and 9 degrees respectively.

Awesome SA: Screw Business as Usual

Yes to Eco-TourismYes to Eco-Tourismwww.awesomesa.co.za
South Africa is a country that has lived through one of the most frightening, riveting, and inspiring political revolutions in history. Real radical change faces each one of us every day. How do we deal with the mistrust that has crept in among our people from years of separation and confrontation?

Richard Branson in his book – Screw Business As Usual – says:

"We've a chance to take a shot at really working together to turn upside down the way we approach the challenges we are facing in the world and to look at them in a brand new, entrepreneurial way. Never has there been a more exciting time for all of us to explore this great next frontier where the boundaries between work and higher purpose are merging into one, where doing good really is good for business."

Awesome SA supports an organisation called Sustaining the Wild Coast.

Sustaining the Wild Coast's (SWC) focuses on assisting traditional rural communities living along Pondoland's Wild Coast, in the northern coastal regions of the former Transkei of South Africa's Eastern Cape Province, to create a positive future for themselves. You can view the SWC Awesome SA article here.

SWC works with Wild Coast communities to find sustainable solutions that improve local livelihood prospects, while respecting local cultural traditions and maintaining the wealth of natural biodiversity and unique ‘sense of place’ that the Wild Coast is re-known for. One of SWC's focus area's involves promoting public awareness about issues and concerns affecting the Wild Coast and its residents, through articles and news reports and by assisting and encouraging journalists, writers and film-makers to provide in-depth and well-informed coverage of topics concerning the area.

Two recent developments causing much concern for local people are ongoing proposals to open cast mining in the area, and the proposed routing of a tolled highway, a new extension to the existing N2 national road, through the region. SWC's dedicated Too Great a Toll fund is helping Wild Coast communities with resources to legally challenge the government's approval of the N2 ‘Wild Coast’ tolled highway. The Wild Coast communities are legally challenging the lack of proper consultation and other serious legal deficiencies in the N2 proposals Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Red Sands of XolobeniRed Sands of Xolobeni

In Richard Branson's Screw Business as Usual, he is calling for people to turn capitalism upside down – to shift our values, to switch from a profit focus to caring for people, communities and the planet. He inspires both businesses and individuals to embark on a whole new way of doing things, solving major problems and turning our work into something we both love and are proud of.

Imagine if those driving the open cast mining and the building of a tolled highway - through one of the most pristine and unique wild areas of South Africa - would alternatively put their money into the following areas. Support the people who live on the Wild Coast in maintaining their cultural and ecological heritage, as Sustaining the Wild Coast is doing, with the following projects:-

  • Skills development, mentorship, leadership and entrepreneurial development programmes.
  • Skilling local residents and schools in permaculture cultivation methods, knowledge of indigenous plants, establishing indigenous plant nurseries and food gardens, and addressing and reversing environmental degradation.
  • Promoting eco-tourism development initiatives along the Wild Coast which includes training hiking guides, establishing guided hikes, helping local people set up community based ‘homestays’ and networking with other eco-tourism development organisations to promote responsible eco-tourism.
  • Assisting Wild Coast communities with advocacy, legal representation and specialist advice to enable them to 'own their future'.

    Daily Sun - 17 September 2008: Click on the pic to view the article.Daily Sun - 17 September 2008: Click on the pic to view the article.

    Awesome SA is calling on South Africans who value and are proud of our country, to support the rural communities living on the Pondoland Wild Coast. We are calling for support from all areas of the globe and ask that you add your voices to the call of the Pondoland people.

    Sustaining the Wild Coast needs support, because you know what... the future is not a place that we are going to go; it’s a place that we are going to create. Please reference Too Great A Toll when making donations to assist the Pondoland people in funding the legal challenge to sustain the Wild Coast. More details can be found on the SWC website www.swc.org.za. You can follow SWC on Twitter - @SWCOAST & on Facebook - SustainingtheWildCoast.

  • N2 Toll road decision

    Minister of Water & Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, has approved the controversial N2 tollroad through the environmentally sensitive Pondoland Centre of Endemism.

    In a 21 page fax sent out to IAPs she dismissed all 49 appeals lodged in objection to the new road. What is clear is that the minister is being a "loyal cadre" and carrying out the wishes of the ANC, while betraying her office and responsibilities to the environment.

    Download the Fax here: 184635892.pdf

    26 of the appeals were dismissed out of hand due to the fact that they address socio-economic impacts of the tolling; which was the responsibility of the dept of transport and the SANRAL Act.

    Concerns about ribbon, or linear development were not possible to consider because it would be based on only "potential future developments" and were dismissed.

    A major concern addressed by numerous appeals was SANRAL's bias towards the new 75km section of road between Lusikisiki and Mzamba and against the upgrading of the existing R61. The "Terms of Reference for Environmental Consultant N2 Wild Coast Toll Road Project" (TOR) included a requirement that there must be "due consideration of alternative options and a strong motivation for excluding the R61 and current N2 as alternative options".

    Xolobeni mining update

    It is well known by now that the minister of minerals & energy revoked the mining license, granted to MRC and their local subsidiary Xolco in 2008, at the beginning of the month.

    However the door is still ajar and we await the outcome in 3 months time.

    The applicants have until then to resubmit properly completed environmental impact assessments, a full environmental management plan, and to comply fully with the various requirements of affected government departments.

    In the interim, MRC's (Mineral Resource Commodities - ASX:MRC) share price seems fairly stable and essentially unchanged, hovering around 8c, Australian. But will they risk the further expenditure?

    DMR releases Xolobeni report

    JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has released the ‘Holomisa Report’, which advises Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu on the Xolobeni mining right appeal.

    The mining right was awarded to Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM) in 2008, for the Kwanyana block of mineral sands on the Wild Coast.

    Although dated March 2010, the report was only released on January 31. The DMR said that the delay in taking a decision on the report was owing to “administrative processes and pressures within the department”.

    Petition against the destruction of the Pondoland Center of Endemism

    Please sign the petition online here:

    www.wildcoast.co.za/ict4d/petition.

    Development, for the people of Pondoland, does not depend solely on the N2 toll road passing through the greenfields of this fragile biosphere.

    However the continued existence of the PCE does, without a doubt, depend on it not doing so.

    Please sign this petition and forward it to everyone you can.

    Read more here: www.wildcoast.co.za/tollroad

    Thank you.

    Pondoland Centre Endemics

    Dated and incomplete list by Tony Abbott (P O Box 111, Port Edward 4295)

    The Pondoland Centre (van Wyk 1994), one of the Centres of Plant diversity of the Maputaland-Pondoland Region is tied to the Mzikaba Formation (Thomas et al. 1992).

    Many Pondoland endemics are noted for their very narrow distribution along the coastal belt. In nearly all species distribution is clumped and confined to certain areas that appear to have no characteristics that are not shared by adjoining areas of similar topography and substrate. The large majority are almost certainly palaeoendemics.

    The endemic woody plants largely occur in stream and river forests. They tend to be roughly confined to the lower 15 kilometres from the sea. The rivers exhibiting the greatest preponderance of endemics are, from the north, the Umzimkulwana, the Umtamvuna, the Mzamba, the Nyameni, the Mtentu, the Mzikaba, the Mkweni, the Lupatana, the Mlambomkulu, the Cutweni and the Mkosi.
    Grassland endemics are concentrated in the same geographical area but with only three areas of conservation; the remaining grasslands are historically subject to heavy utilisation. The conserved areas are the Mkambati Nature Reserve, the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve (with little grassland) and the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve.

    Out side the conserved areas, the grasslands are somewhat depauperate in species diversity due to heavy grazing but still retain the essential components of the veldtype. In particular, the grazing lands contain plenty of refugia from pressure, such as wetlands, which retain a diverse biota.

    Preliminary survey in recent years has revealed many new species and given rise to the existence of the Pondoland Centre of Endemism. Much more research is required to complete a survey of this Centre and without doubt, further taxa await discovery.

    With the narrow distribution of many species, it is clear that any large construction such as a major road could well affect the viability of such small populations.

    Agathosma sp. is a small shrub up to 2½ metres of sandstone streams recently discovered in the KwaDlambu River inland of Mkambati Game Reserve
    Apodytes abbottii Potgieter & Van Wyk is a shrub or small tree normally occurring scattered in rock outcrops, less often it is found in kloof forest margins. It is well distributed throughout the Pondoland Centre. It is often seen with trees such as Canthium vanwykii and Loxostylis alata.

    Canthium vanywykii Tilney & Kok is a spreading shrub that is found in forest margins and bushclumps on rock outcrops. Its distribution is in lowland coastal forest around in southern KwaZulu-Natal and the northern Eastern Cape.

    Cussonia sp. nov. a small slender tree growing in south west facing krans scrub forest from the Umtamvuna River, Mnyameni River, Mkambati River and Mlambomkulu River.
    Colubrina nicholsonii Van Wyk & Schrire forms colonies of plants which have thick drooping stems. It often occurs on coastal stream banks but on Mt Sullivan it grows in greater numbers than elsewhere. Although flowering profusely, only a few fruits have been seen and no seedlings have ever been recorded; further survey of Mt Sullivan might reveal some regeneration. The type locality is the Daza River in Mkambati Game Reserve. It occurs from the south bank of the Umtamvuna River to Mount Sullivan. Recently located in Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve.

    Cussonia sp nov A small tree up to 3 m. It occurs in forest along south and southwest facing kranses in cooler, shady conditions. So far known from Waterfall Bluff, Mkambati River, Mnyameni River, Mzamba River and Umtamvuna River.

    Cyphostemma rubroglandulosum Retief & Van Wyk is a creeper and has been recorded in forests of the Pondoland Centre from the coast to higher altitudes inland.

    Dahlgrenodendron natalense J.J.M. v.d. Merwe & Van Wyk is a tall tree of the coastal lowland forests with a tendency to produce suckers. Although it fruits rarely, the seed is fertile and grows readily. However, so far no seedlings have been noted in the wild. It occurs from the Mzikaba River to the Umtamvuna River with several relictual occurrences as far north as Ngoye Forest although it has never been recollected there. A good stand grows on the south west flank of the Ozwatini Plateau lying to the west of Ndwedwe inland of Durban.
    Erica sp. nov. A shrub normally found on cliffs, formerly included in Erica caffra.

    Eugenia erythrophylla Strey is medium to tall forest tree which occurs in coastal lowland forests particularly in small tongues of kloof forest. Its distribution is small in throughout the Pondoland Centre.
    Eugenia simii Duemmer is a small shrub that grows on coastal stream and river beds and banks. Its associates are Gymnosporia bachmannii and Syzygium pondoense. It occurs in southern KwaZulu-Natal and northern Pondoland.
    Eugenia umtamvunensis Van Wyk is a rare, small tree or shrub of very narrow distribution around the KwaZulu-Natal Eastern Cape border. It grows on kloof and krans forest margins near the coast. It ranges from the Mtentu River to the Umtamvuna River.

    Eugenia verdoorniae Van Wyk grows more often as a shrub than a small tree. This narrow leafed plant grows on coastal kloof and krans forest margins confined to the area from southern KwaZulu-Natal and Pondoland north of Fraser’s Gorge.

    Eugenia sp. nov. A is a slender small tree occurring in dry forest. It has a scattered distribution in KwaZulu-Natal.

    Eugenia sp. nov. B is a small robust tree occurring on sandstone kranses and dry forest in the lower half of KwaZulu-Natal.

    Eugenia sp. nov. C is a medium tall forest tree marked by its flush of new leaf in reds, pinks and greens. It occurs in coastal lowland forest in southern KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.

    Grewia pondoensis Burret is very close to Grewia occidentalis but differs in its thick glossy leaves and its lax habit. Another species of coastal lowland forests in southern KwaZulu-Natal and northern Eastern Cape.

    Gymnosporia bachmannii Loes. is a small shrub seldom growing more than one metre tall. It only grows in rocky stream and riverbeds in coastal KwaZulu-Natal/Eastern Cape border area.

    Gymnosporia vanwykii R.H. Archer is a rare geoxylic suffrutex of the grassland which occurs along the southern KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape coast.
    Indigofera braamtonyi ined. Schrire resembles I. natalensis but has a very limited distribution with an strange outlier at Ngoye Forest.

    Indigofera jucunda Schrire grows along many of the sandstone streams. This shrub is very popular in gardens with its long lasting pink flower spikes.

    Ipomoea sp. nov. is a tiny geophyte seen only twice, once in Mkmabati Nature Reserve and once on the Mnyameni River. It grows in the shallow Selaginella fern beds on flat rocks gardens.

    Jubaeaopsis caffra Becc. This palm is renowned world wide for its strange occurrence on the northern banks of only the Mzikaba and Mtentu Rivers at the coast. It has been widely cultivated by palm growers.

    Leucadendron pondoense Van Wyk is a fire escape tree up to six metres tall that grows in streambeds above the coast ranging from Nyameni River in the north to Mlambomkulu River in the south. In this range it occurs in last five or six kilometres from the sea. There seems to be no reason why this plant does not occur in the streams outside this range but still within the Pondoland Centre.

    Lydenburgia abbottii (A.E. Van Wyk & Prins) Y. Steenkamp, A.E. Van Wyk & Prins. is a tall forest tree of upwards of 30 metres which occurs in coastal kloof forests. It is the most rare tree in South Africa. In steep land it grows with a single erect stem while in flatter places it may have several stems. From known records, it occurs from Amphitheatre in the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve to the Mzamba River, a total range of only 10 kilometres. It flowers profusely and the seeds are quite viable. This is the most closely confined distribution of the endemic woody plants of the Pondoland Centre and development could easily destroy the viability of the population. The total population is estimated to be between 200 and 400 specimens.
    Manilkara nicholsonii Van Wyk is a medium tree of coastal lowland forests in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape border. It occurs as a scattered member of both mesic and dryer forests. It has an extremely low fruit set as a gall-forming insect attacks the flowers.
    Maytenus abbottii Van Wyk is a small colonial tree that favours the moister places including stream banks in coastal lowland forest. A small distribution around the KwaZulu-Natal/Eastern Cape border.

    Maytenus oleosa Van Wyk & Archer is a rare, small riverine tree of limited coastal distribution around the KwaZulu-Natal/Eastern Cape border. It used to be included in M. undata but its clearly defined habit and habitat marked it out.

    Ochna sp. nov. is well distributed along sandstone streams in lowland coastal forest and has been included in O. natalitia.

    Phylica natalensis Pillans is an extremely rare subshrub known only from the area around Port Edward. It forms small clumps in grassland. The largest known population occurs in the vicinity of the Red Desert.

    Pseudosalacia streyi Codd is a tree that grows within close proximity of streams and occurs in pure stands. There is a single group that grows high up under the cliff above a gorge where it seems that the moisture regime is similar to stream margins. A rare plant that occurs in groups isolated from each other. It occurs in coastal lowland forests around the KwaZulu-Natal/Eastern Cape border.

    Pseudoscolopia polyantha Gilg is a small shrub of coastal lowland forest that occurs along forest margins in colonies. Although mainly confined to the Pondoland Centre, there are outlying populations on the Great Noodsberg and at Porterville in the Western Cape. A remarkable distribution.

    Putterlickia retrospinosa Van Wyk & Mostert is a spiny creeper of forest and forest margins. It occurs coastal lowland forest around the KwaZulu-Natal/Eastern Cape border throughout the Pondoland Centre.

    Raspalia trigyna (Schltr.) Duemmer, the only species in the family Bruniaceae to occur outside the winter rainfall area, has had a very chequered career in recent times. It is the most rare shrub of the summer rainfall region of South Africa. From 1965 it was known from a single specimen in the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve until that plant died in 1988. That year a survey was conducted to search for other wild plants and resulted in the discovery of a single plant at Magwa Falls. This plant was successfully propagated and five clones were planted in the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve of which four survive and are healthy. Another five clones were handed to the then Transkei Department of Agriculture but recent investigations have failed to reveal their whereabouts. 1n 1995, a further wild specimen was discovered in the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve and efforts are currently under way to cross breed this and the clones - so far unsuccessfully. In 2001, a tiny breeding colony was found in Pondoland; this amazing discovery serves to emphasize the vulnerability due to the minute 40 square metre colony.

    Rinorea domatiosa Van Wyk is a small tree that occurs in colonies in lowland coastal forest. It is very closely allied to Rinorea angustifolia (Thouars) Baill. but does not grow together with it.

    Rhus acocksii Moffett is a slender spiny creeper of coastal lowland forest margins of the Pondoland Centre.
    Rhynchocalyx lawsonioides Oliv. is a small tree of coastal lowland forests which grows in colonies on kranses and along streams. Its range is southern KwaZulu-Natal and northern Eastern Cape.

    Syzygium pondoense Engl. is an attractive robust shrub of stream and river banks and beds. It occurs in southern KwaZulu-Natal and south to the Mlambomkulu River in Eastern Cape on sandstone streams close to the coast.

    Tephrosia pondoensis (Codd) Schrire is a small slender tree or shrub that occurs in forest margins. Its occurrence is very limited and there are many seemingly identical forest margins where it does not appear.
    Tricalysia africana (Sim) Robbrecht a rare small tree of lowland forest near Magwa Falls.

    GRASSLAND AND FOREST HERBACEOUS ENDEMIC/near endemic SPECIES

    Anthospermum streyi Puff
    Aristea platycaulis Bak.
    Bulbine sp. nov.
    Calopsis paniculata (Rottb.) Desv.
    Cassytha pondoensis Engl.
    Carissa sp. nov.
    Crassula streyi Tölken
    Craterostigma sp nov
    Delosperma edwardsiae L. Bol.
    Delosperma grantiae L. Bol.
    Delosperma pallidum L. Bol.
    Delosperma stenandrum L. Bol.
    Delosperma sp. nov.
    Erica abbottii Oliver
    Erica sp. nov.
    Eriosema umtamvunensis Stirton
    Eriosemopsis subanisophylla Robyns
    Euryops leiocarpus (DC.) B. Nord.
    Helichrysum pannosum DC.
    Helichrysum populifolium DC.
    Indigofera gogosa ined. Schrire
    I. herrstreyi ined. Schrire
    I. pondoense ined. Schrire
    I. rubroglandulosa Germish.
    Ipomoea sp. nov.
    Kniphofia drepanophylla Bak.
    Lampranthus sp. nov.
    Leucadendrom spissifolium (Salisb. Ex Knight) Williams subsp. natalense (Thode & Gilg) Williams
    Leucadendron spissifolium (Salisb. ex Knight) Williams subsp. oribinum Williams
    Leucospermum innovans Rourke
    Lopholaena dregeana DC.
    Phylica natalensis Pillans
    Plectranthus ernstii Codd
    Plectranthus hilliardiae Codd
    Plectranthus oertendahlii Th. Fr. Jr.
    Plectranthus oribiensis Codd
    Polygala esterae Chod.
    Psoralea abbottii Stirton
    Sencio glanduloso-lanosus Thell.
    Senecio medley-woodii Hutch.
    Streptocarpus porphyrostachys Hilliard
    Streptocarpus primulifolius Gand. subsp formosus Hilliard & Burtt
    Streptocarpus trabeculatus Hilliard
    Streptocarpus sp. nov. Bellsteadt
    Syncolostemon ramulosus E. Mey. Ex Benth.
    Tephrosia bachmannii Harms
    Turraea streyi F. White & Styles
    Watsonia bachmannii L. Bol.
    Watsonia mtamvunae Goldb.
    Watsonia pondoensis Goldb.

    SPECIES WHICH APPEAR TO BE LARGELY CONFINED OR POSSIBLY ENDEMIC TO THE PONDOLAND CENTRE

    This list clearly shows the need for further research of the biota of the Pondoland Centre.

    Alepidea stellata Weim.
    Aspalathus gerradii H. Bol.
    Aspidoglossum uncinatum (N.E. Br.) Kupicha
    Atalaya natalensis R.A. Dyer
    Berkheya sp. nov.
    Brachystelma australe R.A. Dyer
    Brachystelma kerzneri
    Brachystelma tenellum R.A. Dyer
    Centella graminifolia Adamson
    Chironia albiflora Hilliard
    Cineraria sp. nov.
    Clutia sp. nov
    Crassula obovata Haw. var. dregeana (Harv.) Tölken
    Eriosema latifolium (Benth. Ex Harv.) Stirton
    Euphorbia ericoides Lam.
    Ficus bizanae Hutch.& Burtt Davy
    Gnidia triplinervis Meisn.
    Heliophila subulata Burch. ex DC. [form]
    Hernia hystrix (Hook. f.) N.E. Br. subsp. parvula Leach
    Hypoxis beyrichii
    Impatiens flanaganii Hemsl.
    Kniphofia coddiana Cufod.
    Lotonis bachmannii Dümmer
    Lotononis holosericea. (E. Mey.) B-E van Wyk
    Lotononis viminea (E. Mey.) B-E van Wyk
    Memecylon bachmannii Engl.
    Monsonia natalensis Knuth
    Orbea speciosa Leach
    Peperomia rotundifolia (L.) H.B.K.
    Peucedanum natalense (Sond.) Engl.
    Phyllanthus sp. nov.
    Plectranthus praetermissus Codd
    Plectranthus reflexus van Jaarsveld & Edwards
    Podranea ricassoliana (Tanf.) Sprague
    Relhania pungens L'Hérit. subsp. angustifolia (DC.) Bremer
    Schizoglossum atropurpureum E. Mey. subsp. virens (E. Mey.) Kupicha
    Selago lepidioides Rolphe
    Senecio erubescens Ait. var. incisus DC.
    Siphonoglossa sp. nov.
    Streptocarpus johannis Britten
    Streptocarpus modestum Britten
    Struthiola pondoensis Gilg.ex C.H. Wright
    Tetraria sp. nov.
    Utricularia sandersonii Oliv. [rare habitat]
    Wahlenbergia sp. nov.
    Watsonia inclinata Goldbl. [centred in Pondoland Centre]
    Zaluzianskya angustifolia. Hilliard & Burtt

    Invader alien plants in Port St Johns area

    Port St Johns's Indigenous forest is threatened by quick growing invasive alien plant species (inkberry, american bramble,guava,casteroil plant,indian laurel,lantana and many other). To try and eradicate these looks like a mammoth task. The Working for Water Project seems not to be working at all in the Port St Johns area. I have started to try and eradicate and kill all non indigenous plants on and around my property (between Ferry Point and Agate-Terrace). I bought a book on invader plants of KZN and have discovered that any piece of disturbed forest gets rapidly invaded by these alien plants and it is very difficult to eradicate these invaders and rehabilitate such an area even if it is a very small area. I pay three orphan school kids from Noqhekwana R50/day on saturdays to help me. If anybody knows how I can go about to get any official or any other assistance in a cause to eradicate the Pondoland's indigenous forest of invader alien plant species. South Africa does only have a few lush forests(Tsitsikama, Pndoland, Drakensberg, KZN and Limpopo) and bushveld (Kruger National Park, Nelspriut, Hazyview), compare to Central-,West-and North Africa. Is there a way to save our forests, maybe declare all our natural forests National Parks?

    UNLESS

    The Lorax was written and illustrated by Theodore (Dr. Seuss) Giesel in 1971 as a colorful childrens book, with a biting satirical message - for adults and children alike - about man's tendency to invade and destroy his natural environment. It is a pointed commentary on the expansion of the logging industry in the early 70s that is even more relevant today than it was 38 years ago when he created it.

    RHINO HUNTING BY EC PARKS

    6-Jul-2009

    Produced by: Step Lite Films

    VO: 
    During the first week of May, a professional hunting outfit from the Free State, started the hunt at Dwessa, armed with all the correct permits and paperwork they needed. The hunt was advertised by and bought from Eastern Cape Parks Board. Of the five on the permit, one was shot and one wounded by their clients.
     
    The officials justified the decision by saying that it was taken in line with the requirements of the national biodiversity Act or NEMBA.

    CEO: 
    We are hunting white rhinos, which are not indigenous to the Eastern Cape. 

    The white rhino were originally introduced to the area some 25 years ago.

    The hunt angered many people who feel that the animals should simply have been relocated, keeping them alive.

    Letters from Public: 
    “If this is indeed lawful under recently promulgated national legislation, then these laws are worthless. “

    “The use of State wildlife sanctuaries as public hunting grounds is totally repugnant - for any reason whatsoever in a civilised nation! “

    Eastern Cape Parks Board sold the 5 rhino at DWESSA to the hunters for R1.5 million.

    Kevin: 
    There is absolutely no angle from which I can see that there was any reason for going in there, whether it was permitted through provincial, whether it was a policy, no, just wrong. Period!
     
     
    Independent conservation biologist and part time pilot, Kevin Cole says he has had the pleasure of seeing the rhino at Dwessa while at work and during private visits to the reserve.

    Kevin: 
    I have observed those rhinos on at least a third of the flights up the coast in the grassy open areas.

    This amateur footage of two of the DWESSA rhino.

     
    With one animal dead, the park authorities spent two weeks looking for the wounded rhino. It was eventually found with a flesh wound and let go. In total 6 rhinos were killed at DWESSA.

    Kevin: 
    If I were in management position in Eastern Cape Parks I would look at a decision to hunt rhino against a back drop of 76 rhino being killed illegally last year, in 2008 alone.  I would look at it against the back drop of the moratorium and I would look at the possibilities of whether or not bona fide hunters are going to be involved in the hunt.  
     

    The hunt at DWESSA was sold off to Vietnamese citizens. 

    One of the problems in bringing this whole upsurge in rhino poaching under control has the fact that people from the Far East, who are not really hunters, could come out here and hunt a rhino legally.  That would give them access to a permit // Often these permits would then be forged to take other horns out of the country, which were illegally obtained. 

    In two previous investigations, we have now showed the involvement of Chinese triads and of Vietnamese citizens in the illegal trade in rhino horn – some even linked to their Embassy in Pretoria. 

    Johann: 
    It’s all happening in front of the embassy – even if it is driven away – we’ve linked the staff of the embassy to the actual deal.

    In response to the flourishing trafficking, the previous Minister of Environmental Affairs, Martinus Van Schalkwyk issued a national moratorium on the sale or export of rhino horns, unless it could be proved the horn was obtained as part of a legal, permitted trophy hunt.

    Against this backdrop the whole timing for this hunt being allowed in provincial nature reserves by the very people who are supposed to the custodians of our wildlife seems questionable.

    Johann: 
    Looking from the outside, it doesn’t seem to be an unhealthy decision to say that we are going remove species that never occurred here and focus on the conservation of biodiversity.

    Kevin: 
    When we have manipulated an environment, modified the natural habitat of the southern white rhino some place else and it’s got a tarred road and a city through it.  What really is indigenous?  // And if they are bulk grazers, happily utilising and not having a detrimental effect on the particular grass veld type there, then so be it.  Then you redefine what your perspective is on exotic and alien.

    Andrew Muir is chairperson for the Eastern Cape Parks Board. He says the decision to hunt rather than move the rhino was based on scientific data.

    Andrew: 
    As a board we were informed by our scientific services that game capture and translocation of that particular group at Dwesa was problematic.

    Part of DWESSA’s charm is that it offers a shoreline, grassland and coastal forest. Normally white rhino graze in open veld, but here at DWESSA they often hide in this dense forest.

    But local game reserve owner, Graham Statton, says this unusual behaviour and difficult terrain are no excuse to shoot the animals.

    Graham: 
    They capture animals in all sorts of conditions.  The helicopter can get anywhere on the terrain.  And I mean the helicopter will actually guide them out of a bad, difficult terrain into an open plain and then dart them.

     
    When Graham heard about the first Dwessa rhinos that had been shot, he offered to buy the remaining ones for a competitive price, saving them from a similar fate.

    Graham: 
    Dwesa is at the coast and we are at the coast.  So that is the first thing that they wouldn’t have to relocate to another area to get used to the grasslands and that again.  //Being close there wouldn’t be stress on the animals moving them from Dwesa to us. 

    As part of the processes the Eastern Cape Parks Board had to advertise the rhino. Advertised as a “take off package”, they could have been auctioned rather than hunted.

    Graham: 
    We haven’t seen any documentation asking for anybody interested.

    The advert only featured once in the Sunday Times and once in the Eastern Cape Herald. And it was advertised on the Professional Hunter’s Association website.

    But Kevin says not nearly enough was done to let the general public know about the rhino’s plight.

    Kevin: 
    We pay the salaries of the parks board, we should have some sort of say.  Or an opportunity, a public platform to participate in management plans and decisions such as shooting rhino in protected areas. 

    Environmental lawyer, Jeremy Ridl agrees. The Biodiversity Act is very clear - all stakeholders must be consulted.

    Jeremy: 
    It’s been a source of great concern for me that some provinces have chosen, or seem to be reluctant to enforce National Legislation, or even adopt it.

    VO: 
    The only time Eastern Cape Parks Board interacted with the public was at the initial stages of their planning in 2006 - But only with the immediate DWESSA community.

    Andrew: 
    It was awarded in the early nineties to the community Dwesa in one of the first land claims.  And, so this reserve is owned by the community, managed as a conservation area and we the managing agents. 

    Jeremy says this doesn’t excuse them from the legal requirements of the process.

    Jeremy: 
    The authorities that have control over that protected area are our custodians and have got the legal mandate and obligation to ensure that all of the recourses of that protected area are protected in the public interest, not in the interests of an individual community.

    In addition DWESSA was established in 1890 as a state forest and as a nature reserve in 1975. Trophy hunting of threatened or protected species, including rhino, within its border was made illegal.

    This mandate should still be upheld under the Protected Areas Act of 2003.

    Kevin: 
    In my opinion on the side of caution would be to place a ban on rhino hunting period. 

    VO: 
    But in the Eastern Cape – this doesn’t seem likely.

    Andrew: 
    There are all sorts of pressures that come into the mix.  Not least the fact that all agencies are under pressure financially. 

    And while Andrew argues they would have got a comparable amount for the rhino whether they were hunted off or sold, hunting would have saved the Eastern Cape Park’s Board relocation & capture costs.

     
    And according to Noluthando Bam from DEAT, it seems, DWESSA wasn’t the only Eastern Cape Parks Board reserve whose rhino were about to be hunted. Permits were already being issued for one rhino at Dubbledrift and another at Mpofo.

    Johann: Tell me what the nationalities of the hunters are that applied for the other two reserves?

    Ms Bam:  
    It is, they are from Vietnam. 

    Kevin: 
    This is part of the whole shock.  I mean apart from the rhino in the first instance being shot, the fact that there a Vietnamese involved. 

    Willem Botha is the outfitter who won the tender to hunt the rhino at Dwessa.

    Willem: 
    ons het gisteraand vinnig bereken seker so ‘n 100 e-posse uitgestuur net na outfitters toe en ons weet, hulle het nou weer kliente op hulle beurt en op daai manier – hierdie rhenosters was basies orals geadverteer en dan kom die mense terug na jou toe – jy weet Europeer kom terug na jou toe, ‘n Amerikaner kom terug na jou toe en hierdie Vietnamese het ons genader. En die eerste ou wat bevestig hy vat die goed en hy betaal die deposit, hy, hy kry die jag.

    We asked him if the one rhino was wounded because the Vietnamese hunters were inexperienced.

    Willem
    Nee, nee,standard procedure is dat voor ons in die veld in gaan moet hy eers ‘n skiet toetsie slaag en die mense van natuurbewaar wat ook by is – wil ook sien dat hy die skiet toets kan slaag. En jy weet die ouens het die skiet toets met vlieende vlae geslaag.
    die ouens kon skiet, daar’s geen twyfel oor die skiet nie – skiet kon hulle skiet
    .

    Willem says he did everything by the book.

    Willem: 
    die moratorium op rhenoster jag bepaal nie jy weet jy mag nie rhenosters aan Vietnam of China of waar okal verkoop nie – dit se een rhenoster per klient per jaar en dis hoe ons gewerk het.
     // die enigste mense wat kan besluit rhenonsters is uit vir die Ooste, is basiese die regering. En as eendag besluit of wel, hulle het bewyse dat dit wel so is en hulle besluit geen rhenosters vir die Ooste nie – dan is dit geen rhenosters vir die ooster nie.

     
    And, amidst the whole furore over the Dwessa hunt, Eastern Cape parks let both hunts at the other two reserves go ahead quietly.
     
    But, were these hunts in fact legal? Eastern Cape Parks Board had to follow specific steps to establish a management plan for the eradication of so called “alien species” in their reserves.

    In terms of both national and provincial law, the Eastern Cape Parks Board has to prepare management plans for each of their parks. These plans then have to be signed off by the provincial MEC of Environmental Affairs before they can be implemented.

    Jeremy: 
    Where an important species like rhino is concerned it should also have gone up to the national department of environmental affairs.

    VO: 
    But, Andrew Muir admits the management plan has “not yet (been) signed by the MEC office “

    According to Jeremy, this means that the whole process, including the issuing of the permits to hunt by DEAT, is fatally flawed and illegal.

    Jeremy: 
    The individuals who broke the law by not going through the consultative process, by signing off on permits to hunt that are found after the event to be unlawful, and that would be my view – unlawful, they could well be held liable for the value of those rhino. And at the going rate of a quarter of a million or more per rhino that could be a very serious claim that they could face.

    Kevin: 
    let’s nationally have a complete rethink about the rhino hunting story.  // its time to go back at looking at rhino for what they are.  They represent a species that came back from extinction.  We lose species every other hour on this planet.  We lose habitat every other second on this planet.  We don’t need to exacerbate a situation by doing this sort of thing in a protected area.  It’s unnecessary.

    STUDIO OUT LINK:   With only a handful of white rhino left in Eastern Cape Parks, it seems clear anymore hunting of these animals should be outlawed.  There must also be a serious investigation by the National Department of environment as to why the Eastern Capes Parks Board and the Provincial Department of Environment blatantly ignored the legal processes involved in the their parks management plans that eventually led to the unnecessary deaths of these Rhino.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions?

    2009/06/08

    GOVERNMENT has approved plans for the construction of a toll route through the Wild Coast in the face of fierce opposition from environmentalists and the royal house of AmaMpondo.

    The project, initially intended to take off some 10 years ago, has been stalled by objections from Pondoland communities whose homes the road will cut through, and from environmentalists who fear the ecological impact.

    Environmentalists are also concerned a portion of the road between Lusikisiki and Port Edward will bisect the Pondoland Centre of Endemism (PCE) sections of the proposed Wild Coast/Pondoland National Park.

    The approval of the project, by Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka, was justified by the economic spin-offs in an area of severe poverty and disease.

    Departmental spokesperson Vuyelwa Vika said the toll road, which will start from Buffalo City and go through Transkei to Isipingo south of Durban, had strong business appeal, and constant delays were detrimental only to communities along the proposed route.

    “After visiting the area and witnessing for himself the poverty and disease that exists in that area, the minister felt that the people had suffered great neglect since there has been no significant development in the past 15 years,” she said.

    Vika said people could not continue living in hope after repeated promises of development.

    “There will be a consultation process, to be complete within the next three months, during which stakeholders, including communities, environmentalists and everyone who has ever raised issues about the development, will be consulted,” she said .

    She added that all legal actions brought against government for the project also would be sorted out by then.

    During construction the road is expected to generate about 6800 direct and up to 21300 indirect jobs, with 900 of them permanent.

    About 18000 indirect jobs are expected to exist after the road was built.

    Kings in the area have voiced their unhappiness over the construction , calling it an invasion of natural land lush with natural flora, fauna and the site of the graves of their forefathers.

    They had also vigorously resisted the mining of a 23km strip of land in Xolobeni, with threats to go to court to stop it with a human rights body joining in the fray.

    The road was regarded as paving the way for the mining project.

    Attempts to get their comment on the pending construction were unfruitful yesterday.

    “By the end of the year a decision on the mining project would have been reached, so that if it does not continue alternative developmental projects must be put in place,” Vika said.

    Yesterday the Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) initiative vigorously opposed to the construction of the road, said the three months consultation process was not only impractical but a recipe for disaster.

    Land rights activist and SWC community co-ordinator Pasika Nontshiza said: “This is ridiculous, they would not have completed consultation for a project which will erode 85km of endemic species, from where people get their plants and herbs.”

    He said the community they claimed to be concerned about had received no responses to their concerns on the future of the existing projects, from which they derived an income.

    “They are not against development, but they do not know what they gain from this,” he said.

    He added that by announcing his decision through the media, the minister was violating the “code of consultation”, and repeating mistakes that had led to the opposition of the project.

    He said that the promise of jobs was a tool used by the authorities to bolster their position.

    “We have jobs that are in harmony with nature – why can’t they be boosted?”

    The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), under whom the project falls, yesterday said safeguarding and protecting endemic species formed part of their plan, as did alleviating poverty and empowering communities.

    “The process has taken too long, but we had to follow all legal processes,” Sanral CEO Nazir Ali said.

    He said the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which they had been asked to re-do, was almost ready, they were just processing public and community input.

    “In the meantime poverty levels have deepened,” he added.

    Agreeing that the project was lucrative, and would provide much needed jobs, the Democratic Alliance’s national transport spokesperson, Stuart Farrow, said it should not be undertaken at the expense of the people and environment.

    “Consultation with the communities should be extensive … and the EIA should be taken into consideration to ensure that no vegetation is wiped out,” he said.

    He added that although the project meant a new and improved road, a single trip could cost drivers R250 from East London to Durban, although regular travellers could apply for an exemption.

    The road would also bypass a number of small towns, including Bizana, Flagstaff and Kokstad.

    “Will they survive the economic impact of this or will they die?” Farrow asked. - By NTANDO MAKHUBU

    http://www.dispatch.co.za/article.aspx?id=321370

    Red Dunes of Xolobeni - the curse of the black dirt

    Simon Max Bannister has compiled a brilliant photo essay of his hike around Mzamba and Xolobeni.

    Do yourself a favor and follow this link: simontothemax.blogspot.com and see for yourself the unspoilt beauty of the threatened area.

    Better yet, contact Benny Mbotho on 079-1985 975 / or through Sonya on 074-336 7862 - for a guided day-trip, or longer hike.

    Also do check the rest of Simon's Blog which features some of his fascinating "recycled" artwork.

    Opinion piece

    I commented recently about the cabinet ministry changes, and made a similar comment about Buyelwa Sonjica (who is now Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs) and her obvious pro-industrialization inclinations, so I think it's fairly appropriate to post  Tonie Carnie's article published in The Mercury on 13 May 2009.

     

    White Rhino

    Gamekeepers versus poachers in new cabinet May 13, 2009 Edition 1 By Tony Carnie

    President Jacob Zuma's decision to separate some of the "poacher" and "gamekeeper" cabinet ministries seems to make a lot of sense at the structural level, but the proof of the pudding remains in the eating.

    It can be argued that environmental affairs and tourism belong in one ministry because they are closely linked, but there has always been inherent tension between regulating and protecting the environment on one hand and the simultaneous promotion of the commercial imperatives of the tourism sector.

    The same goes for the former union between water affairs and forestry. Protecting our precious water resources also sits uncomfortably with promoting commercial timber plantations, which suck up scarce water and land.

    A somewhat similar scenario of lumping poachers and gamekeepers in one ministry was also apparent in the traditional union between minerals and energy affairs - now separated into two ministries.

    For too long, the minerals sector (often representing the interests of mining giants such as Anglo American, Kumba and BHP Billiton, or the powerful oil and fossil fuel lobby) has been the senior partner in the incestuous marriage with energy affairs.

    Hopefully, the separation will open up the space for the development of cleaner, renewable energy options such as wind, solar and wave energy in the new era of global climate change - though it is unlikely that the "poachers" will fail to guard their strategic turf any less assiduously under the new alignment of cabinet ministries.

    Yet it seems rather ominous that water seems to have assumed senior partner status in the new Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs.

    It may be a matter of semantics as to which function gets top billing in the title, but elevating "water" above "environment" seems to be an indication that the protection of the environment continues to play second fiddle to economic growth and the utilitarian value of water.  Clean water, clean air and unpolluted soil are all children of the broader environmental parent - not the other way around. It's a bit like creating a ministry of catholic and religious Affairs, which deliberately assumes dominance by the Catholics and relegates the Islamic, Hindu or Anglican faith branches into positions of subservience.

    And what, if anything, can be read into the choice of personalities to head the realigned ministries and departments?

    Marthinus van Schalkwyk certainly seems to have been booted into the sidelines with his appointment as tourism minister. No longer will he enjoy centre stage at the forthcoming world climate change talks in Copenhagen, despite exceeding the expectations of several observers during his tenure as environment minister.

    In his place, Buyelwa Sonjica has been named Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs. Some observers have commented disparagingly about Sonjica's previous position as minerals and energy minister, particularly in relation to the Wild Coast dune mining saga. Sonjica blotted her copybook in the eyes of several environmentalists with her vocal support for the Xolobeni dune mining venture, and worsened this with her crass, racial attack on human rights and labour attorney Richard Spoor, who has acted on behalf of several (black) Xolobeni residents opposed to the mining plan.

    Racial identity should not play any role in raising awareness about the crucial need to protect our deteriorating life-support system - but hopefully Sonjica will now contribute to breaking down some of the abiding perceptions that environmental protection remains the domain of "rich whiteys".

    More to the point, however, it remains to be seen whether Zuma's cabinet will elevate the profile of environmental custodianship or continue to deepen the ruts in the narrow and well-trodden pathway towards economic "progress".

    Wild Ocean 3D

    Wild Ocean is in an uplifting, giant screen cinema experience capturing one of nature's greatest migration spectacles. Plunge into an underwater feeding frenzy, amidst the dolphins, sharks, whales, gannets, seals and billions of fish. Filmed off the Wild Coast of South Africa, Wild Ocean is a timely documentary that celebrates the animals that now depend on us to survive and the efforts by the local people to protect this invaluable ecological resource. Hope is alive on the Wild Coast, where Africa meets the sea.

    Check out the film's trailer on the official website at www.wildoceanfilm.com

    Wild Ocean has been Selected as 2009 Earthwatch Film of the Year

    Wild Ocean 3D highlights one of nature’s greatest migration spectacles, plunging viewers into an underwater feeding frenzy, an epic struggle for survival where whales, sharks, dolphins, seals, gannets and billions of fish collide with the most voracious sea predator, mankind.

    Filmed off the Wild Coast of South Africa and set to the rhythm of the local people, Wild Ocean 3D reveals the economic and cultural impact of the ocean while celebrating the communal efforts to protect our invaluable marine resources.

    The film chronicles a massive annual feeding frenzy; billions of sardines travel up the Wild Coast and to the coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal. For the people living along the African shore, this migration has provided a food source for countless generations while farther out at sea ocean predators come from great distances to feast.A black tip shark swims by the camera looking for food. Photo by Luke Cresswell.A black tip shark swims by the camera looking for food. Photo by Luke Cresswell.

    Bottlenose dolphins create superpods, thousands strong, to track down the huge shoals using sonar. Sharks sense blood in the water and join the hunt. Seals and common dolphins chase the fish from cooler currents up the coast into the warmer tropical waters. Diving birds, Cape Gannets, join the battle with aerial attacks from the sky.

    All of these animals are drawn to the scene, enmeshed in one of the most incredible mass feeding melees in the natural world.

    Unfortunately, such a richness of life is now rare in our seas. For centuries the ocean was considered a vast limitless resource. As fishing practices grew more industrialized and efficient throughout the 20th century, entire fish stocks around North America, Europe, and Asia began to collapse.

    The fish, hauled onto boats by the ton, were an integral part of a complex marine ecosystem, a link in a great food chain on which many predators depend.

    Young men work hard netting Sardines on Umzumbe Beach, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo by Steve McNicholas.Young men work hard netting Sardines on Umzumbe Beach, KwaZulu-Natal. Photo by Steve McNicholas.Eventually, entire fish species were decimated and the ocean predator populations went into a steep decline. Now a new threat, global climate change, threatens to further damage the fragile ocean ecology.

    While Wild Ocean 3D explores the causes and effects of man’s impact, it is an inspirational film looking toward a bright future, taking audiences to a rare unspoiled marine wilderness to glimpse what the oceans of the world once looked like. The film champions the creation of marine reserves necessary to bring our oceans back to life. South Africa leads the way. It is a film about the people that come together to protect our world. Hope is alive on the Wild Coast, where Africa meets the sea.

    Flood of Objections to Wild Coast Toll Road

    January 29, 2009 press statement by SWC. For immediate release.

    Flood of Objections to Wild Coast Toll Road

    An unprecedented flood of thousands of objections has poured in to the consultants tasked with writing the final Report on the Wild Coast Toll Road EIA, despite holiday season timing for public comment.

    The submissions have come from individuals, communities, businesses,
    environmental organisations and civil society groups, while in Durban, where road users are protesting extra toll booths, local government have joined the chorus.

    Many of the comments have described the EIAR as ‘fatally flawed” in many ways, but particularly in its lack of compliance with required legal standards and adherence to public participation norms.

    It also

  • misleadingly characterises the project as a regional social development initiative
  • misleadingly assesses the benefits of secondary development
  • fails to assess socio-economic impacts
  • DEADLINE FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS N2 TOLL ROAD

    The deadline for public comments on the new N2 Wild Coast Toll road EIA is 22 January.

    Please send your comments to:

    Theo Hansford
    NMA Effective Social Strategists (Pty) Ltd.
    Box 32097
    Braamfontein, 2017.
    Fax: 086 601 0381
    Email: theoh@nma.org.za

    A number of requests were received from people who wished to send in comments against the N2 toll road proposal and in support of SWC (Sustaining the Wild Coast - www.swc.org.za) principles. Val Payn compiled the following (below) for general use. Please feel free to adapt or adjust it however you see fit. You can delete anything you don't personally agree with, or feel free to add any of your own comments that you feel it does not cover, or are more suitable for your own circumstances. You're also welcome to 'personalize' the wording in whatever way you like. However, if you would like to send it exactly as it is, then it is recommended that you include a 'provisio' along the lines of:-

    Illegal fishing vessels along Wild Coast

    Some of you might be aware of reports about possible illegal fishing vessel activity along the Wild Coast over the last few years. As the authorities seem to happily take the stance that 'if we don't see it then it ain't happening' Val Payn from SWC (www.swc.org.za) thought it might be useful if members of the public could help to become 'eyes and ears' to try and gauge the extent of the problem.

    If you are down at the Wild Coast and happen to see/hear what might be 'suspicious fishing vessel activity' within the Pondoland Protected Marine Zone then please make a note of the time and place, and any other details that you can, and if possible try and get some photos or any other 'eye witness' evidence.

    You can pass this onto swcoastval@gmail.com or
    PO Box 44, Harding, 4680.

    Please include your contact details.

    Please pass this onto anyone else who might visit the Wild Coast.

    Xolobeni & the Continental Shelf

    Continental shelfContinental shelfThe Mzamba/Xolobeni area is located closer to the Continental Shelf than any other part of South Africa, and, interestingly enough, there is a cretaceous deposit and "petrified forest" at the mouth of the Mzamba river. Also interesting, although possibly unconnected, is the fact that the Pondoland Center of Endemism (PCE) seems to fall exactly adjacent to the "trench" where the Continental Shelf is closest to the actual African continent.

    Amongst other weirdnesses this may play a role in the unique coastal flat rocks and reefs in the area.
    cretaceous fossilscretaceous fossils
    The continental shelf regions contain the greatest amount of benthic life (plants and animals that live on the ocean floor).

    Mpahlane to MnyameniMpahlane to Mnyameni
    Kwanyana shorelineKwanyana shoreline
    Sikombe MouthSikombe Mouth
    Mpahlane to Mnyameni birds-eye viewMpahlane to Mnyameni birds-eye view
    Mtentu Mouth: Normal rocks againMtentu Mouth: Normal rocks again
    Wild Coast Sun to SikombeWild Coast Sun to Sikombe

    Flat rocks between Mpahlane & Mnyameni rivers: Rock pools with breakers hitting reef 40m away (Photo: Julia Sestier)Flat rocks between Mpahlane & Mnyameni rivers: Rock pools with breakers hitting reef 40m away (Photo: Julia Sestier)

    Ocean Currents and Tides: The Treacherous Agulhas

    In order to sail the South Atlantic and round the tip of Africa, Portuguese sailors had to confront two powerful ocean flows: the Agulhas and Benguela currents.

    The warm Agulhas runs south and west from the Indian Ocean pushing against the near-freezing waters of Antarctica, before meeting the cold Benguela current off the Cape of Good Hope.

    The second swiftest current in all the world's oceans, the Agulhas is deadlier than the swiftest current (the Gulf Stream) for two reasons. First one of its branches surges through a narrow passageway between Madagascar and Mozambique on the east coast of South Africa (downward arrow on map). Furthermore its waters rush from north to south--the opposite direction from which Portuguese ships needed to travel in order to round the tip of Africa.

    agulhas.gif

    Petition against strip mining on the Wild Coast!

    Please download, print, sign and submit this petition: www.swc.org.za/petition.pdf

    The contents of the petition follow below. Please also add your comment on this site using the add comment link below this article.

    WHY MINING THE WILD COAST IS A VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
    By John G.I. Clarke

    The Department of Minerals and Energy has announced that it intends awarding a mining licence to Australian mining company MRC on 31 October 2008 to mine the Kwanyana Block of the Amadiba Tribal Administrative Area, on the Pondoland Wild Coast. This announcement has been made before the SA Human Rights Commission has completed its investigation into human rights violations lodged by local residents allegedly perpetrated by agents of MRC.

    If the Minister of Minerals and Energy signs the mining licence and Environmental Management Plan on 31 October, we believe it would be in gross violation of the Constitution of South Africa, notably the Environmental Right enshrined in Section 24 which states.....

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