or as a zip file: env_auth.zip
For some cool footage of the other side of "The Hole", check http://youtu.be/wWisCZKXUQo
On 15th October 2012 Richard set off from the SA-Namibia border on his second attempt at an epic surf ski adventure to paddle the whole 2600-kilometre South African coastline, ending at the Mozambique border.
The adventure is raising money for the Miles for Smiles foundation.
Check www.facebook.com/Paddlingforsmiles for updates and donor information. Click on "LIVE surfski tracking" to follow Richard:
The 3 month long petition "Demand that the South African government declare the Wild Coast a No Go area for mining once and for all" ran from 9 July until 8 October 2012 and received 24,315 supporter's signatures.
Download the 660 pages of sigs here:
She offers basic treatments such as dipping, deworming, treatment of wounds, and replacement of old and harmful tack, such as bridles and saddles, with donated equipment.
She will shave her hair off at a public event in East London on 1 September 2012.
Regular photos and updates are uploaded on the Facebook group "Hole in the Wall Horse Project".
Please support this worthwhile cause.
Email Marlene Els at email@example.com, or phone 078-2507980.
On Wednesday, 2012-08-08 the Amadiba Crisis Committee filed an Objection against the prospecting right application made by Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources SA:
The objection was filed jointly by the ACC and Sun International, which operates the Wild Coast Sun resort adjacent to the proposed mining area.
* TEM is ineligible for a new grant of prospecting rights because their application is redundant: they have already prospected the site, and are therefore merely attempting to hoard the rights. This transparent ploy creates more uncertainty and directly impedes development of the tourism potential in and through the area;
* Prospecting and mining activities cannot take place in the Xolobeni region at all because it is within an already designated Marine Protected Area (MPA). The tiny Pondoland Centre of Endemism (PCE), where the mining is proposed, is the second most florastically abundant region in Southern Africa, and one of only 26 such species rich places on earth;
* Mining the area will lead to unacceptable environmental and social harm. The objection clearly states the inevitable outcome of the limited short-term capital gain operations versus the long-term (infinite) sustainability of eco-tourism: Mining will irreversibly degrade the ecology, sense of place, and appeal of the area.
* The community will be displaced. The unacceptable outcomes of strip-mining include, inter-alia:
1. Forced eviction from their ancestral lands:
2. Loss of access to farmland for both crops and livestock, leading to subsequent loss of income, means of subsistence, and way of life;
3. Decreased viability of subsistence agriculture and fishing due to dust fallout;
4. Risk to irrigation from declining ground water sources;
5. Relocation/destruction of ancestral graves;
6. Destruction of culturally important archaeological sites;
7. Loss of current tourism and potential eco-tourism opportunities in the area, as Kwanyana camp, which is pivotal for accessing trails, will not be able to be used by tourists for lifetime of the mine; and
8. Irreversible damage to residents' sense of place, which is closely associated with unspoiled character and traditional use of the land.
9. Basically, irreversible degradation to the environment for a short term gain of $6 billion.
Please sign our petition at www.causes.com/wildcoast for the Wild Coast to be declared a "no-go" area for mining once and for all.
2 cottages at Coffee Bay. 3 bedroomed en suite cottage; fully equipped and serviced daily. Fully electrified and municipal water supply. Sleeps 7 - R2000.00 per day. Minimum number of nights = 10. Email firstname.lastname@example.org 2nd cottage in same complex = 5 bedrooms sleeping 14 (2 bedrooms en-suite) plus 2 more bathrooms. Fully equipped; serviced daily; electrified and municipal water supply. DSTV etc. . R3000.00 per day. Email - email@example.com
£1 (GBP) from the sale of each book will be donated to Sustaining the Wild Coast (www.swc.org.za), a registered NPO responsible for halting the mining at Xolobeni, and currently waging a protracted legal battle, alongside the Pondoland residents, to stop the N2 troll road.
Click on the pic to order your copy: or here: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/905621
The Ama-Xhosa of the Transkei - by Deryck Lang. Edited by Dianne Lang
Deryck spent his life among the amaXhosa in the Transkei, and was a respected member and Elder of the amaTshezi; the foremost clan of the Bomvana tribe. The photographs he took are a testament of his enduring love of the people, and their deep respect for him.
Few, if any, outsiders have been as privileged to photograph tribal customs and ceremonies, to share in their fortunes and their sorrows; and to live amongst them their entire life. Deryck captured an intimate glimpse into what could sadly be the end of a cultural era.
Deryck was a true African in the deepest sense of the word, a man who epitomised the meaning of "Ubuntu" and "Umntu Ngumntu Ngabantu".
Lala Ngoxolo Mdesaleni
You’ve probably heard of the Tanzanian government‘s recent decision to cancel plans for the construction of a new highway that would have bisected the Serengeti National Park, threatening the integrity of the site of one of the world’s largest, most famous and most important annual wildlife migrations. That was great news.
You’re less likely to have heard of another, perhaps less significant, but equally controversial plan to build a new highway on South Africa’s Wild Coast. The bad news: this one looks like it’s going ahead.
Last week, South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, gave the go-ahead for the new N2 Wild Coast toll road project which will involve the upgrading of existing smaller roads and building of some 90 kilometers of new road through the Pondoland area. Government believes that the road will help create job opportunities, increase tourism and accelerate investment and development in this rural and largely impoverished region. Significantly, it will also provide for easier access to potential mining prospects along the spectacularly beautiful and relatively untouched coastline.
The fight over this road, which in 2007 was estimated to cost R6.4 billion (about $950 million), has been going on for more than a decade. Support has come largely from the national government level and the South African National Roads Agency. Very vocal opposition has been provided by local communities on the Wild Coast, environmentalists, concerned citizens and even the provincial government of KwaZulu Natal.
The project was shelved in 2004 after it was discovered that the supposedly independent environmental consultants tasked with conducting an environmental impact assessment (EIA) had financial links with the companies hoping to build the new road. Molewa’s recent announcement comes after another EIA gave the green light for the project.
The new EIA acknowledges that there will be a “loss of sensitive habitats” and “faunal impacts with loss of faunal diversity and loss of species of special concern.” Opponents charge that the road will endanger sensitive forests and waterways and threaten the traditional way of life of local communities.
Of particular concern is the new section of road which is slated to cut through and destroy some 16% of a fragile region known as the Pondoland Centre of Endemism which is of special value because of its great biodiversity and the presence of many plant species that are found nowhere else on the planet. It also represents the cultural homeland of the AmaPondo people. This new section of road would include construction of no fewer than nine new high-level bridges across river gorges.
Adversaries of the new road argue that a truly sustainable development path for the region would help to uplift the local population while protecting the unique environment at the same time. They have vowed to fight government’s intention to go ahead with construction in the country’s courts.
Visitors to the Wild Coast have long appreciated it as one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa and one that has remained largely undisturbed by human development and environmental degradation. It would be unforgivable if it was devastated by something as mundane as a road. In the words of one local commentator, Fred Orban, “the surest and quickest way to destroy a world renowned wilderness area is to cut a highway through its heart.”
WRITTEN BY WESSA
THURSDAY, 04 AUGUST 2011 11:42
On Monday 25 July, a year since appeals were first submitted, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, rejected all 49 appeals against the development of the N2 toll road and in so doing has given the go-ahead for the construction of this new section of the highway.
For over a decade, WESSA has played an influential role in the N2 toll road Environmental Impact Assessment process. As an interested and affected party with a long history in conserving the Wild Coast, WESSA delineated a recommended alternative path that would have the least impact on this biologically diverse and sensitive area. This proved to play a significant role in the final alignment: 80% of the new road will fall on existing roads with only 20% being greenfield development.
The 90km of road to be constructed between Ndwalane and Ntafufu and between Lusikisiki and the Mthamvuna River, will be an extremely costly development as large bridges are required to cross many deep gorges. One of the continual questions through the process has been: could the revenue not be better spent on upgrading existing roads, especially ancillary ones that would be of more benefit to the surrounding communities in the area?
The road’s benefits will come at a hefty price to some of the poorest communities in the country. In addition, with six toll plazas being erected along the new road (two in KwaZulu-Natal and four in the Eastern Cape), it is commuters who will be footing most of the bill.
As much as WESSA understands the potential social and economic benefits that may accrue from the construction of the road, we remain concerned about the change in the nature and social fabric of the area forever. “This may very well take the ‘wild’ out of the “Wild” Coast,” says Chris Galliers, WESSA Biodiversity Programme Manager, “It is another decision that speaks to the short-term gains of the political rhetoric. WESSA hopes the Minister will apply equal attention to the long standing need for the area to attain some level of formal protection as identified in the National Protected Area Expansion Area, prior to any construction taking place”. The Minister does recognise the importance of the biological diversity of the area and admits that it is a vulnerable asset that needs protection: “I am aware that the proposed road, being a linear development, will fragment this delicate system.”
The Wild Coast is part of the Maputo-Pondoland Albany Hotspot, a globally recognised biodiversity hotspot. WESSA would like to see a greater commitment to the preservation of our natural heritage by the department which carries this mandate.
http://www.themercury.co.za/wild-coast-toll-road-decision-is-shameful-1.... July 29 2011 at 11:29am
Wild Coast toll road decision is shameful
SILLY, silly me. All these years I have laboured under the illusion that the prime duty of the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs and its minister was to protect our water resources and be the steward of our environment.
That is the role that was played in the past when the ministries were separate, by ministers like Kader Asmal and Valli Moosa.
But now it increasingly seems as though the ministry, under Edna Molewa, has abdicated its stewardship role, and has again become a Cinderella ministry that bows to pressure from big business, industry and more “senior” government ministries.
How else to explain two recent decisions which are totally inimical to the future of our wild areas and of our environment?
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".
Opponents of the N2 toll road that will snake through the Wild Coast are ready to take their battle to the highest court following the controversial road's approval by Environment Minister Edna Molewa this week.
The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has fought tooth and nail to build the road from Durban to East London for the past 10 years but has faced fierce opposition from environmentalists, the local community and civil society.
Sanral argues that the Wild Coast community is one of the poorest in the country and would be well served by the development of a road system to encourage tourism and open up the region to economic opportunities.
"We are shocked by the decision, but not really surprised," said Cormac Cullinan, lawyer for the local community opposing the road. "Considering the political support this project had, it was just a matter of time before the road was approved."
Two years ago, before appeals were lodged against the road, Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka told the SABC: "The N2 road is going ahead. We will make sure that this thing goes ahead."
A crowd of bemused holiday makers gathered on the beach at Hole in the Wall yesterday where a small penguin had set ashore nursing an injured leg. As it is tagged (S29329), it definitely has had human contact before and seems to have landed at the busiest beach in the area specifically looking for help from humans. Especially as it is over 1000km away from its usual habitat.
The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus, Xhosa name: Nombombiya, and also known as the Black-footed Penguin) is an endangered species and there are fewer than 100,000 left in the world.
A hiker from nearby Coffee Bay turned out to be a marine biologist from Hawaii, and advised Charlene from Hole in the Wall Hotel on the correct care for the docile, cute little fuzzy, who whacked down 4 sards for dinner, and another 3 for breakfast this morning.
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?
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Sky candles are traditionally made out of oiled rice paper stretched over a bamboo frame, containing a small candle. When you light the candle, the air heats up, and the lantern rises into the air.
Sky candles will stay aloft for around fifteen minutes.They can rise as high as 1500m. These fascinating lanterns are popular all over the world especially in China and Thailand, and are used for special occasions and festivals. Sky candles are considered a symbol of good luck.
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Some of the comments are really funny. E.g.:
09:06am on 30 May 2011
Respect your leaders and stop complaining. They have decided that we must pay in many ways to use the roads. Money from the roads sometimes needs to go to more important areas like election campaigns and transport and security for our esteemed leaders. We are striving to be a first world country and need to look good in the eyes of the world. We need our leaders to travel in style so they are respected by other world leaders. Do you expect our leaders to use an old vespa to travel to VIP functions? Do you think it would be classy fir our leader to use an old Nokia 3310 with pay as you go? No. Our leaders need the latest technology and need to travel in the style they have become accustomed to. Just as it's the right thing to pay TV license, it is the right thing to pay your toll fees it is not our right to question who gets these road tenders nor who owns these companies. Doing so would be disrespectful to our leaders. We should get back to work and stop complaining about paying for valuable services. We are not VIPs, we are the working class. We are there to work, they are there to lead and put food onto our dinner tables and provide fir our families. Do not bite the hand that feeds you.
May 30 2011 at 07:41am
By Deon De Lange
The controversial Gauteng toll road system is just the start of a string of tolls across the country designed to plug a multibillion-rand hole in the government’s road maintenance bill, according to Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele.
Responding to a recent parliamentary question, Ndebele revealed that the so-called “user pay” principle - which he claims will only be applied when required - will go some way towards relieving the state’s R149 billion road maintenance shortfall.
“The ‘user-pay’ (toll) principle is government policy, but is used selectively and only where feasible, and when used, the benefits outweigh the cost to the road user,” he said.
Ndebele also noted that the price tag for maintenance backlogs excluded periodic resurfacing of the road network, the upgrading of gravel roads to tarred surfaces, adding new lanes to existing roads and the construction of new roads to ease congestion on busy routes.
The Gauteng toll system was widely criticised earlier this year when the proposed fees of 66c/km were announced, prompting Ndebele to stop the process while he consulted affected constituencies.
These include taxi operators, who want to be exempted from the toll fees.
Long-haul transport companies have also warned that the new fees will raise the cost of all consumer products as these are transported mainly by road. And they have suggested that, in the absence of an efficient alternative such as rail, companies have little choice but to move products by road.
Other tolls in the pipeline include: the N1-N2 Winelands Toll Highway (171km); N2 Wild Coast Toll Highway (560km); R300 Cape Town Ring Road (105km); R30 Bloemfontein to Welkom (160km); N3 Marianhill to Cedara (90km); and the controversial N2 Knysna Bypass (35km).
“This is part of the South African National Roads Agency’s long-term planning strategy for the national road network,” the minister said.”Extensive investigation and evaluation would be done before any final decisions were taken about further tolling, he said.
“The introduction of toll roads is related to the backlogs that exist with regard to the (national road network) and the associated funding constraints by the fiscus.
“This makes it extremely challenging for the required remedial measures to be implemented, as and when required, resulting in the continued deterioration – if not arrested timeously – of the road network,” Ndebele explained.
He emphasised that toll fee structures would exclude the initial capital outlay and that users would only be paying for upkeep on the section of road they actually used.
Money collected from tolls would also be “ring-fenced” to be used exclusively for maintenance on the applicable route.
This comes after an Independent Newspapers investigation revealed on Friday that a private company appeared to have acted as judge, jury and executioner in the Gauteng toll road project.
The investigation found that a local road engineering company was contracted to do everything from the initial feasibility studies to the costing of the plans and finally the engineering of the project, including the building and operation of the toll gantries.
Sanral has denied any impropriety, saying the company’s services were obtained at a 20 percent discount.
The company’s involvement in the feasibility study – and later in other aspects of the project – did not constitute a conflict of interest, Sanral said.
However, critics have called for the entire process to be stopped and for all contracts, tenders and agreements to be opened up to public scrutiny.
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven, who has criticised the fact that parts of the project were outsourced to the private sector, has indicated that the trade union federation plans to take the issue to the streets with protest actions.
DA Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom has also cried foul, suggesting the closed process followed so far prevents public representatives from ensuring that the government is getting bang for its buck in the project.
The minister suggested that the budgets available from the national fiscus were “insufficient” to cover the state’s road maintenance obligations and therefore road users will have to help foot the bill.
This will free up available government resources for other roads in need of repair.
However, the envisioned tolls will only cover 3 120km – or 2.4 percent – of the country’s 135 000km network of surfaced roads - Political Bureau
Wow, the marriage of Prince William and Lady Catherine solicited a great deal of interest on the site yesterday. The visitor count hit a new all time record, and I thought the site had been compromised until I figured out that over half of the hits were on the blog post from 2008 about the Royal brothers riding the Wild Coast. (http://www.wildcoast.co.za/node/514)
I thought that (what little I saw of it) the pomp and pageantry of the wedding of the century was quite magical. The stuff of fantasy; and we need that in this world.
I must be honest and admit that Prince William has extraordinary charisma. A palpable aura of power and privilege, but more than that even.
When they visited Hole in the Wall on their ride, I tried to get a photo. So I sidled up to the foot of their table and nervously asked if I could take a photograph. One of the bodyguards laughed and chirped "Well I rode like a champion today, you're quite welcome to take my photo!"
Without thinking about the propriety or anything, I replied, "No not you, mate, I meant William and Harry."
Prince William responded and said that it was so very kind of me to ask, and apologized and said that they'd had a long ride that day and would prefer if I wouldn't. "No problem," I said, "I really don't wish to impose." He thanked me again for my courtesy, and I left with the tangible impression of having encountered true nobility.
It was quite remarkable, and has left me with an indelible and lasting respect for the man who was born to be King someday.
(/True story. :)
Click on the pics for full size popup:
How high can the ocean levels rise with global warming?
(Apparently not very high.)
Here's another one:
If we were to supply all the world's electricity supply via solar, it would take up approximately 496,805 km2.
Sounds like a lot, but how big is it?
KZN Cabinet to fight N2 toll road plan
Published in: Legalbrief Environmental
Date: Tue 14 December 2010
Issue No: 0193
The KZN Cabinet will go to court to block the N2 Wild Coast toll road because the plan is 'not in the interests of the people of KZN', notes a report in The Mercury.
The Cabinet has vowed to 'vehemently' oppose the plan which has twice been approved by the Environmental Affairs Department amid strong protests. Groups have appealed against the environmental impact assessment (EIA) approval process over the past few months after the toll project was approved by the department for the second time earlier this year.
The report quotes Premier Zweli Mkhize as saying: 'We are going to write to the Transport Minister to voice our strongest opposition. We are prepared to go to court on this one. We are in full support of the upgrading of the N2 going to the Eastern Cape. Our principle is simple: the toll should be for those receiving the service.
This development is not in the interests of the people of KZN.' According to the report, the Cabinet said its opposition to the proposal was based on the fact that the plan would introduce a major new toll plaza near eManzimtoti, raising the cost of commuting and doing business in the southern part of Durban.
Critics have argued that the toll gate would generate the lion's share of funds along the Durban to East London route, effectively subsidising the cost of building bridges across the deep river valleys of the Eastern Cape.
Full report in The Mercury