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Building a New South Africa

"The state of our environment is fragile and needs every citizen’s involvement to protect it. Our Constitution is one of the few in the world that gives its people the right to a clean and healthy environment.

At my inauguration, I stressed the link between our soil and a personal sense of renewal. Our soil, along with all our natural resources, is a precious asset that we cannot squander.

Our people are bound up with the future of the land. Our national renewal depends upon the way we treat our land, our water, our sources of energy, and the air we breathe.

The end of apartheid closed a shabby and divisive chapter in the history of our country. As we go into the future together, we need to be united in building a sustainable basis for the use of our resources.

We need to ensure that there is development to meet the basic needs of our people, but that development should be mindful of our fragile resources. So we must promote development that takes into account our reconstruction needs now as well as leaving our children and their children a share of our precious resources.

This report looks at ways in which we as South Africans can achieve sustainable development. It proposes policy directions that move away from the unbridled squandering of our resources at all costs. It advocates sound use of the environment and better measures for environmental protection.

I commend it to all South Africans to use as a basis for discussion and devising a way forward. Let us use these ideas to ensure that our reconstruction and development go ahead in harmony with our environment. Let us restore our country in a way that satisfies our descendants as well as ourselves.

Nelson R. Mandela
September 1995

(From the Foreword: Building a New South Africa - Vol. 4: Environment, Reconstruction and Development - http://www.idrc.ca/openebooks/759-0/ )

. . . Noble ideals we once had. Yet, at Xolobeni on the Wild Coast, the government has fallen over backwards to grant open-cast dune mining rights to an Australian prospecting company, Mineral Commodities, who have formed a South African subsidiary, TEM, with a nominal 26% BEE local component, Xolco, and failed dismally to include or consider the rights of the local occupants who have - from the outset - objected strenuously to the violation of their ancestral land and constitutional rights.

The Wet Separation Plant will use up to 2,000 000 liters of water per hour, and the miners plan to dam river estuaries located within the fragile Pondoland Centre of Endemism to provide the required 12 to 15 million m3 of water per annum. The largest catchment, the Mthentu River is a mere 995km, and is also home to several red data endemic species. Some, like the Pondoland Palm cannot be cultivated anywhere else on Earth. But the miners will have to damn (sic) that river and the other biggest catchment, the Mzamba, if they are to have a hope of supplying their demand. Water table be damned, too.

Negotiations with the affected residents will be undertaken now, only after the issuing of the mineral license. However residents have been assured that they will not have to move. Nor be recompensed for the loss of their grazing land and lifestyle, one can only presume. Not an issue either, the disruption of access to their coastline and marine resources, one imagines.

In clear corroboration of the assertion that no negotiation has been undertaken with truly affected parties is the fact that the BEE component is paying over R140+ million ($18 million) for their 26% share. Whatever happened to negotiated access rights and royalties, one wonders? Few indeed of the residents will be included in the share allocations or stand to gain employment within the mine - if it ever becomes operational - because they are technically illiterate. Instead they will get a peri-urbia dustbowl... and influx of people and crime.

CF: The Bafokeng... richest tribe in Africa.

And along other parts of the coastline there have been incidents and allegations of bribery and corruption where ruling party cadres and gravy train conductors sashay and jockey for position in the most massive land grab about to happen in South Africa. This is happening at Hole in the Wall and on other parts of the coastline.

CLaRA (Communal Land Reform Act) addresses residents under previously racially segregated legislation.

The Transkei is at a curious disadvantage which, since the 9th Frontier War never seems to have ended here, sees the traditional Tribal Lands being appropriated as State Land and consequently requiring new order land rights. Ministry of such a process is costly and time consuming, so as such the CLaRA has not been enforced yet. In the meantime zones have been identified for development and Records of Decision are being granted. People are being forced off prime real estate, without fair compensation, to make way for macro-economic and mono-cultural development plans.

It is grim tragedy to note how the freedom struggle has descended into a nonsensical NDR and mire of chaotic bureaucratic interventionism that is sweeping under educated indigenous residents here into generations of wage-slavery.

“If you are going to create a market where you control everything, be a compassionate fascist and give your peasants a break.” –fermion (on /.)

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