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".

This was dismissed by the minister because the client was simply letting the prospective contractors know their requirements. Roughly, their requirements when going to tender equate to any 'impartial' verdict that aligns with their interests. And their interests are a shorter, Tolled road to attract revenue. Not an upgraded existing route that is 75km longer.

Whether the relative costs of upgrading the existing R61 were accurately compared to the cost of the new road with bridge-spans or not is doubtful, but the environmental and cost objections seem tenuous at best.

And in a classic sleight of hand, the honorable minister proves that the point is moot anyway because the condition was only raised in the TOR, but was never annexed to the contract binding the environmental consultants (CCA) to SANRAL, and can therefor be assumed to be non-binding. In the minister's words "Therefore, I do not agree with the interpretation of the appellant that the EAP is compelled to provide a strong motivation that the R61 and current N2 should not be considered as an option."

Download the Fax here: 184635892.pdf

"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.

"Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects... totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations." -Aldous Huxley

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Comments

I am always amazed that people who have no expertise and have obviously not done any proper research can spout nonsense and defame persons based on conjecture with absolutely no qualms or misgivings.

In fact Jeff 80% of the (only) 53 appeals submitted were from KZN (only 6% were from EC) and these were predominantly around the additional tolling for South Coast portion of the N2 under the mistaken impression that these tolls are to cross subsidise the EC portion of the road rather than pay for the required upgrading (additional lanes) leading in to Durban. Despite your contention that “numerous appeals” were concerning the bias towards the greenfields section according to the responses to the appeals compiled by SANRAL for the Minster only six of the appeals addressed alternative routes. Of these some postulated that not all the alternatives were considered (were you perhaps one of these few objectors Jeff?)

However, Jeff, there is no conspiracy here - The EIA study looked at all FEASABLE alternatives in detail. An earlier scoping study looked at all possible alternatives and determined that following the current R61 route is a worse option than the “do nothing” scenario (i.e. keep to the current N2 route) and so did not require a detailed analysis in the EIA.

In my view the hundreds of professional civil, geotechnical and structural engineers, environmentalists, social scientists, economists, transportation planners, botanists, social facilitators ,etc. involved with the planning and design of this project are by far more environmentally and socially conscious than the majority of the gas-guzzling 4x4 driving self interested ‘greenies’ that object to this project are. These professionals are governed by their individual professional regulations and ethos and must comply with legislation covering environmental, heritage, land, health and safety, planning, etc. etc. Rigorous analysis, research, design and consideration of alternatives, elimination and mitigation (based on FACT not conjecture )over many years has culminated in a project that balances development with the protection of the environment.

Everyone - I beg of you please do a little research –read the EIA report or at least the executive summary – look at a few of the specialist studies. This is going to be a FANTASTIC project benefiting the local population, local, regional and national economic development , tourism , eco-tourism, agriculture , freight, public transport, private travel,job creation etc. The positive benefits will significantly outweigh the negatives. Just imagine how a high quality route 80 km shorter and up to 3 hours quicker between EL and Dbn and providing access to a poor rural population that currently has little road infrastructure and no prospects of major economic development will benefit everyone

The new road is 70km inland from the coast and other factors such as the lack of water and other infrastructure, the restrictive development legislation put in place by the old Transkei government preventing development along the coastline, and the proposed conservation area will limit development so the coast will not lose its remote and natural appeal.

Support this project don't bash it!

Yours
‘Mlungu’

Oh I see now from the fax that You were one of the objectors Jeff and that you live cosily ensconced in Kalk Bay far away in Cape Town and far from the daily harsh realities faced by the Pondoland people

Interestingly SANRAL commented in their response to appeals that they submitted to the Minister that it was very obvious that the majority of appellants had obviously never read the EIA report or at best only parts of the executive summary..... does that comment hit the mark. Jeff?

Firstly, I assume you've left your cosy government job, or otherwise have some personal stake in the toll road? (No funds to repair East Coast Resorts road)

Secondly, I'm proudly Transkeian, born and bred, and have lived on the Wild Coast for the most part of the last 16 years. (Approximately the same length of time that this site has been around, incidentally.)

Aside from ad hominem attacks and distorted 'facts', I notice you don't respond to any of the arguments raised against the N2 carving through the endangered PCE.

I'll respond to the rest of your comments in more depth when I have the time.

Yo Mlungu, brah...I think you got some stake on the go go in the toll road, that is why you punting it. You are cashing in, or hoping to. The toll road idea will open the floodgates and destroy a beautiful region - just so a few okes can make a couply dollars.

There are hundreds of "experts" out there who dont give a fark about the environment. It is easy to find someone to say it will have minimal enviro impact - just offer them moola.

I know the area well and as much as the people deserve a better life, this is not the answer. Build the road and Roll on dune mining and all sorts of get rich quick schemes.

The toll road sucks - guess which suckers will end up paying forever to keep it going...me, jeff and every other person out there who does not have a "steak" on the toll road bbq.

Maybe, when the area is destroyed people will wake up and say we should have kept it the wild coast...