‘My culture is the sea’

  • Posted on: 29 September 2015
  • By: JB
David Gongqose is at the centre of a legal test case for the community to get access to the sea. Picture: JACKIE SUNDE

David Gongqose is at the centre of a legal test case for the community to get access to the sea. Picture: JACKIE SUNDE

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David Gongqose is hardened to poverty, but five years ago, things got particularly rough after his father passed away. Tangled up in debt, there was no money to put food on the table or to pay for mourning clothes for his mother.

“After the funeral, we had no food, nothing,” Gongqose recalled last week. So he took his fishing rod and headed to the sea, where his ancestors have fished for centuries and where his father had taught him to fish as a child.

Before Gongqose had even cast his line in front of The Haven Hotel next to the Mbhashe River on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape, four park rangers pointed rifles at him.

He and two friends were arrested, accused of trespassing, handcuffed and jailed over the weekend.


Gongqose’s crime was that he had gone fishing in the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve. This was land that had been returned to Gongqose and the impoverished Dwesa-Cwebe community in Hobeni in a restitution deal in 2001. At about the same time, the land was declared a marine protected area and a “no-take” fishing zone.

In court papers, Gongqose recounted what had happened on the evening of September 22 2010.

He said he had a customary right to fish on a sustainable, regulated basis.

Convicting Gongqose on only one of four charges under the Marine Living Resources Act, Elliotdale magistrate Greg Nel imposed a suspended sentence. Taking a sympathetic view in what was hailed as a first for South Africa, Nel said the fishing ban amounted to a “complete extinguishment” of customary rights and he indicated it would be unlikely to pass a test of constitutional validity.

Gongqose’s battle to access the sea has now become a test case for customary rights. His appeal will finally be heard in the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha on November 13. It has merged with a broader challenge by the Legal Resources Centre – which has taken the decision to declare the area a marine protected area – on review, arguing that there was no consultation and the decision was, therefore, unconstitutional.

Even the government acknowledged the need to review the no-take policy as far back as 2005. Negotiations have been ongoing, with draft regulations drawn up. Yet after more than a decade, the ban is still in place.

And impatience is growing. Gongqose is among the signatories to a petition calling on the government to give the community immediate interim access to marine resources. Saying they are “poor and hungry”, members are dissatisfied that despite the restitution deal being signed 14 years ago, “there is still no change”. The fishermen and mussel harvesters warn that if their ultimatum is not heeded by Thursday, they will stage protests in the protected area.

A University of Cape Town researcher and an expert witness in Gongqose’s trial, Jackie Sunde, has documented the consequences of the no-take policy, which has been aggravated by a ban on recreational fishing that The Haven Hotel had depended on to draw tourists to the area. Locals have been chased off or had their rods confiscated.

“If they are arrested, they often can’t afford to pay their bail or fine, so they can sit in jail without seeing their family for six months,” said Sunde.

A dossier by the Transkei Land Service Organisation in 2011 called on the Human Rights Commission to investigate allegations of abuse against park rangers. Tensions have escalated. At least two locals have been shot dead by rangers for trespassing and a ranger was killed.

For Gongqose (53) the extended wait is taking its toll. Speaking by cellphone after walking at least 45 minutes to charge it overnight at The Haven Hotel, he said: “People have nothing here where I live. There are no jobs, there is no electricity.”

Sunde said the Mbhashe Local Municipality had the highest rate of poverty in the district, coupled with a 78% unemployment rate.

“My culture is the sea,” said Gongqose, adding that the fishermen and female mussel harvesters continue to take their chances, “because we have nothing”.

“If we get permits to catch four or five fish a day, that is better than nothing,” said the father of four.

Zolile Nqayi, spokesperson for the department of environmental affairs, said it had taken note of the memorandum from the community and was considering the request.

On the court challenge, he said it was unfair to expect the department to find the document that had led to the protected area being declared as this had happened a long time ago. There had also been a split in departments, and some officials and ministers had left over the past few years.

“However, the department is in the process of finalising regulations, which will give access to the communities to continue fishing in certain zones of the protect area,” said Nqayi

Stop forced mining on South Africa's Wild Coast!

  • Posted on: 26 May 2015
  • By: JB

To: Investors of MRC

Investors of MRC: Stop forced mining on South Africa's Wild Coast

This petition is really important and could use your help.

We have just ONE day before the mining company's Annual General Meeting so we need a lot of signatures to get the investors attention in time!

Click here to find out more and sign:
Xolobeni Mining Petition to MRC Investors

The majority of residents do not want their homes, ancestral graves, water supply, fishing stock or traditional way of life threatened.

Although many need employment, better facilities and state services, they do not want to compromise their land for a mine that would hire only a few unskilled workers and have a lifespan of only 22 years.

Instead they want sustainable development projects, ranging from small-scale agriculture to eco-tourism. But the mining threat would foreclose alternative development strategies. 

The crisis has reached a tipping-point.

On Wednesday May 27, MRC has its Annual General Meeting. Let's get their investors' attention and let them know what is really happening with the Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project. MRC is having serious problems with its other South African investment, Tormin, due to its heavy mineral concentrate buyers’ quality claims. It has made mistakes in South Africa that warrant its retreat.

Sign to demand that MRC ends forced mining in a community whose majority have repeatedly rejected it. Stop MRC from hiring people who violently assault community members.

Let MRC’s investors know it’s time to take their funds elsewhere.

Let’s ensure that human rights and environmental integrity defeat greed for ill-gotten gains.



Exposed: How Sanral forged documents

  • Posted on: 23 March 2015
  • By: JB

Source: Rand Daily Mail

AS if the South African National Roads Agency doesn’t have enough to worry about after last week’s tough hearing in the Supreme Court of Appeal, it is now also being accused of forging court documents to promote its proposed Wild Coast toll road.

Sanral came under scrutiny in the appeal court last Wednesday when judges considered whether to uphold a high court decision putting under wraps all the road authority’s documents related to another controversial planned toll road, this time on key routes into Cape Town.

Told that Sanral wanted certain documents kept from the public because they could ‘cause alarm’ if made known, the appeal judges called this ‘paternalistic’ and asked whether it was not, rather, to protect the agency’s reputation. One judge commented that the application was ‘unique’ in that it was brought in a court of law, trying to deal with the court of public opinion.

Now Sanral’s reputation is under fire again: key affidavits filed by its CEO Nazir Alli intended to show that the proposed Wild Coast road had strong community support have been denounced as forgeries – one of them rejected as a fake by the very person who purportedly signed the document.

The documents complaining of forgery have now been filed with the high court, and according to lawyers for the community, the agency agreed to their being lodged as long as Sanral could subsequently file its response to the new claims. Sanral’s official reaction so far has been that they are investigating the matter, but no affidavits by the agency, dealing with the forgeries, have yet been lodged in court.

The forgery claims are part of an ongoing legal dispute in which Sanral’s CEO Nazir Alli has challenged the mandate of Cape Town lawyer Cormac Cullinan and his legal firm to represent the Wild Coast community affected by the proposed toll road. Both sides had already filed their final papers for the hearing in the mandate dispute, preparatory to the matter being heard in court. Then Cullinan spotted the alleged forgeries in the supporting affidavits forming a crucial part of Alli’s case.  

The forged documents deal with whether the community has terminated the mandate it gave Cullinan’s firm as alleged by Sanral, and the extent of support by the community for Sanral’s proposed new road.

In September last year a leading member of the community filed affidavits saying the mandate to Cullinan has not been withdrawn. Nomvelwana Mhlengana, assistant to headwoman Baleni and an elected council member of the Umgungundlovu Tribal Council and the Amadiba Traditional Authority, also says that she and her community are very strongly opposed to the planned toll road.

It was when Sanral filed its reply to these documents that Cullinan noticed one of Sanral’s supporting affidavits had purportedly been signed by this same Mhlengana, just two months after she had expressed a contrary view. In the new documents she allegedly said Cullinan does not represent the community and that she backs the new road.

Lawyers believed there was a difference between the authentic signature and the forgery in Sanral’s affidavit and they hired an expert to examine them. No final answer could be given however as the original ‘forged signature’ was contained in affidavits that had been removed from the court files. Despite exhaustive searches by lawyers and court staff, the original has not been found. That means the expert was only able to examine copies of the forgery.

There was another problem with Sanral’s documents: they were signed on 11 November 2014 but the police date stamp reflects the next day. This must mean that they were not signed in the presence of the person who stamped the documents as required by law. Nor were they signed by the person identified as the commissioner of oaths.

Mhlengana has denied knowing anything about Sanral’s affidavit bearing her signature: she didn’t sign it and she didn’t go to the Mzamba police station on either date reflected on the document.

Apart from this forged signature, several other affidavits attached to the replying papers of Sanral’s Alli also appear to be forgeries: Mhlengana says she has never heard of the three people who signed the affidavits in support of Sanral and the road, and she questions whether they even exist.

At a meeting of the local community attended by about 80 people, the names were discussed and no one had heard of the three. In particular they agreed the three were not part of the Sigidi community as stated in the affidavits.

Cullinan has asked Sanral to put up evidence before court showing that these three people exist, that they were part of the Sigidi community as alleged in the documents, and that they signed the affidavits.

Cullinan said in his affidavit there was good reason to believe that Sanral – or people working on its behalf – had ‘forged the affidavits to manufacture evidence to support Sanral’s allegations’ that his firm did not have a mandate from the local community to fight the planned road. These efforts followed failed attempts by Sanral to get the affected communities to withdraw the court challenge they are bringing against the road.

Cullinan added that Alli, in his founding affidavit, had made serious allegations of professional impropriety against Cullinan and his firm, questioning whether he was telling the truth about his mandate to represent the Wild Coast communities.

“We answered by providing overwhelming evidence of the widespread support among members of the … community” for the court challenge to the road decision and for the mandate to Cullinan’s firm. “In reply Sanral introduces four forged ‘affidavits’ in a blatant attempt to mislead the court.”

Among the affidavits submitted by Cullinan in support of the forgery allegations is one by Mhlengana who says she did not sign the affidavit filed by Alli and that she was “very angry that Sanral has filed a forged affidavit” in her name which makes it seem she has committed perjury since it directly contracts her earlier affidavit two months ago, expressing opposition to the proposed road.


Xolobeni I&AP Registration (again)

  • Posted on: 23 March 2015
  • By: JB


In order to ensure that you are identified as an interested and/or affected party (I&AP) please submit your name, contact information, interest in the matter and comments to the EAP before 17:00 on 18 April 2015.

All communication must be directed to the EAP below.


PB Professional Services

PO Box 1058



Cell: 082 776 3422

Fax: 0866721916


Or directly from the website

17 March 2015 DMR Application Ref: EC10025MR

To: Owner and tenant



Transworld Energy and Minerals Resources (SA) (Pty) Limited (TEM) has applied for mining rights for the Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project in the Xolobeni Region of the Eastern Cape. As part of an application for a Mining Right in terms of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002), and the 2014 NEMA Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, TEM is seeking Environmental Authorisation, Waste Management License (WML), Air Emissions License (AEL) and Integrated Water Use License (IWULA). A Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment Process (S&EIA) is being undertaken. The applications for WML, AEL and IWULA will be submitted shortly.

Situated in the Eastern Cape Province; approximately 250 km south west of Durban and approximately 60 km south east of Mbizana and 30 km southwest of Port Edward, the proposed development will involve the mining and processing of various heavy minerals for export. In addition to the mine infrastructure, the proposed mine development will also require supporting infrastructure such as internal roads, power lines, and water abstraction and distribution infrastructure.

Pieter Badenhorst Professional Services has been appointed as the independent environmental practitioner (EAP) responsible for the applications for an Environmental Authorisation, WML, AEL and IWULA.

Your name was received from a previous public participation process. Please note that this does NOT qualify as registering as an I&AP for this application. If you would wish to register as an I&AP for this current project, please submit your name, postal address, email address as well as preferred method of communication and interest in the manner to the EAP. In the future, communications will only be distributed to the registered I&APs.

The Scoping Report for the EIA is available for public review and comment from 18 March 2015 to 18 April 2015. The document is available from the following website: as well as from the following public places:

Public Place and venues

Port Edward Library

East London Library

Mthatha Public Library

Bizana Library

Naledi High School, Xolobeni Tribal Area

Xolobeni Pre-school, Amadiba Area (Also venue for meeting 8:00 to 11:00 on 8 April 2015)

Mgungundlovu sub-tribal authority (Amadiba area); (Also venue for meeting 13:00 to 16:00 on 8 April 2015).

Mthayise Junior Secondary School

Amadiba area: (Also venue for meeting 8:00 to 11:00 on 9 April 2015)

Amadiba Tribal Authority; (Also venue for meeting 13:00 to 16:00 on 9 April 2015)

Bizana Youth Centre (in Bizana Town; (Also venue for meeting 10:00 to 13:00 on 10 April 2015)


The following listed activities are included as part of the application:

Reg 983 Listing Notice 1:

9, 10, 11 , 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 45, 46, 48, 50, 56

Reg 984 Listing Notice 2:

6, 15, 16,17, 19, 21, 28

Reg 985 Listing Notice 3:

2, 4, 10, 12 18


All communication must be directed to the EAP below.


PB Professional Services

PO Box 1058



Cell: 082 776 3422

Fax: 0866721916


Or directly from the website

In order to ensure that you are identified as an interested and/or affected party (I&AP) please submit your name, contact information, interest in the matter and comments to the EAP before 17:00 on 18 April 2015. 

Sparks fly over N2 toll road project

  • Posted on: 21 March 2015
  • By: JB

March 19 2015 at 09:42am 
By Tony Carnie and Anél Lewis


IOL mot pic mar19 Wild Coast Toll Road 1INLSanral has been accused of faking support for the toll road it wants to carve across the Pondoland coast, including the Mtentu Gorge, shown here, which will require a huge bridge. Picture: John Yeld

Pretoria - The South African National Roads Agency has been accused of forging documents to mislead the Pretoria High Court and bolster support for the controversial N2 Wild Coast Toll Road.

This emerged late on Wednesday when Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona admitted the agency was “investigating the circumstances around fraud allegations relating to statements that Sanral submitted in court”.

To complicate matters, attorneys said the original of an allegedly forged signature appeared to have been “uplifted from the court file by unknown persons” and could not be examined by handwriting experts.

Several community groups from the Pondoland Wild Coast are seeking to set aside the government's 2010 decision to authorise construction of a toll road between Durban and East London.

Sanral had filed a number of affidavits from Wild Coast residents expressing support for the toll road - even though at least one of them, Nomvelwana Mhlengana, a council member of the Amadiba Traditional Authority and assistant to headwoman Cynthia Baleni, had been a vocal opponent of the toll plan.


In this affidavit - apparently signed on 11 November 2014 and stamped the following day at the Mzamba police station - Mhlengana purportedly gives her signed support for the proposed toll road and states that she did not authorise Cape Town environmental law firm Cullinan and Associates to bring a court application to overturn the toll road authorisation.

Three more affidavits, each with the same format and bearing the letterhead of the Mbizana Local Municipality, were purportedly signed by three other residents - but now Mhlengana says she never signed the affidavit of support and only became aware of its existence after Sanral presented it to the court.

“I deny all the allegations made in the affidavit and do not support the N2 Wild Coast project,” she said. “I am known as an outspoken opponent of the proposed toll road, and I am very angry that Sanral has filed a forged affidavit in my name that directly contradicts my previous affidavit.”

She also believes the other three affidavits of support, purportedly signed by Msulwa Ndovela, Mfihlewa Mdatya and Gotyelwa Mathumbu, were also forgeries. She said had never heard of these three people, who were said to be members of her community.

“Sanral representatives knew that members of the Sigidi community would not sign their affidavits,” she said, “so they prepared forged affidavits with the assistance of members of the SA Police Services.”


Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance spokesman Wayne Duvenage said: “Having studied copies of the various affidavits in the court record, it would appear that Sanral has fabricated evidence to back up its assertion that the Amadiba coastal community were supportive of the N2 Wild Coast toll road scheme.”

In an earlier affidavit from Alli, Sanral claimed that Cullinan and Associates director Cormac Cullinan did not have authority to act for those opposed to the toll road.

Cullinan said in a responding affidavit he had provided overwhelming evidence that communities supported the court challenge on the toll road and noted that Sanral had “virtually unlimited access to funds (from the public purse) whereas) the clients we represent have very limited financial resources”.

“This application by Sanral, supported as it is with forged affidavits, is a cynical attempt to deny these communities their constitutional rights.”


Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town is cautiously optimistic that the Supreme Court of Appeal will uphold its appeal to make crucial information about the controversial Winelands toll project public.

Brett Herron, Cape Town mayoral committee member for transport, said in Bloemfontein on Wednesday legal counsel for the city and the 11 organisations standing as friends of the court, had made “compelling arguments” in favour of lifting the veil of secrecy that Sanral has imposed on its toll project for the N1 and the N2.

“Sanral wants to keep taxpayers in the dark about the cost of the tolling project,” he said, “by preventing the city from disclosing the information that is contained in its bid record.”

Herron said the information was of “great public importance” as it referred to toll fees and compared these with what Gauteng motorists were paying for their toll scheme.

The city's review application for Sanral's decision to declare the N1 and N2 as toll roads, and for the project to be scrapped, has been set down for 11 August in the Western Cape High Court.

The Mercury, Cape Argus


  • Posted on: 18 March 2015
  • By: JB


Alex Eliseev. Picture: supplied.

Alex Eliseev looks at yet another scandal which has fallen at the doorsteps of Sanral.

Roads agency Sanral has been hit by another scandal, this time involving fraud allegations relating to a statement submitted in court by its head Nazir Alli. 

It’s a bizarre tale – a pile-up on the highway of logic – that, sadly, few South Africans will be surprised by.
While the headline act in the Sanral saga has been Gauteng’s multibillion rand e-tolling project, another legal battle has been brewing in the Eastern Cape. The controversial N2 Wild Coast toll route proposed by Sanral has seen a community try desperately to stop the construction of a highway between Durban and East London. 

This rather stereotypical David and Goliath fight over the rural communities affected and the potential damage to the environment has been going on for years, with few city slickers in Johannesburg or Cape Town paying much attention. 

But the latest round of court papers exchanged between Sanral and the attorneys representing some of the tribal authorities has ignited a rather unsavoury scandal.

A replying affidavit signed by Alli at the end of November 2014 sets out to prove that communities along the new highway route are behind the project and that the attorney who claims to represent some of the residents has no mandate to wage war on their behalf. 

The attorney is Cormac Cullinan who, naturally, disagrees and argues that he does in fact have the required mandate. 

The trouble, however, lies in the six supporting affidavits that Alli relies on in his statement. These deal with meetings held with communities (because every Sanral scandal is, really, about public consultation) and purport to show that there is widespread buy-in.  

One of these supporting affidavits is by a community leader named Nomvelwana Mhlengana, who seems to have been completely surprised to find her name being used as ammunition by Sanral. Why? Because she’s a rather well-known opponent of the Wild Coast highway who has even appeared in a calendar published to create awareness about the cause. 

Her affidavit, which is printed on a Mbizana Local Municipality letterhead, states things like: “I support the proposed N2 Wild Coast Toll Highway Project” and “I do not support the review application (the court action to stop the highway)”. The statement is signed on 11 November 2014 and, strangely, commissioned at a local police station the following day. 

In a subsequent affidavit, at the end of January 2015, Mhlengana sets the record straight. 

“I did not depose to the affidavit… I deny all the allegations made… I do not support the N2 Wild Coast Toll Highway Project.” 

She continues: “The signature purporting to be my signature is similar to my signature but is a forgery.”

Mhlengana says she is angry that “Sanral has filed a forged affidavit in my name which makes it look like I committed perjury… Since I did not go to the Mzamba Police Station on either 11 or 12 November I do not understand how anyone at the police station could have stamped an affidavit that bore my name.” 

Further concern is raised that at least three other supporting affidavits could be fakes and that some of the people they claim to be signed by don’t actually exist.

By the end of last month, Cullinan and his team had compiled all the relevant legal papers to bring the alleged forgery to the court’s attention. 

Cullinan says they were shocked to discover the affidavits. 

“The communities in questions are against the toll road and when Sanral tries to make a case that the opposite is true it can’t find evidence to that and hence appears to have resorted to forging affidavits,” he claims.

“This kind of behaviour undermines our system of justice in South Africa and shouldn’t be allowed… and it’s particularly disturbing when it’s a major public institution involved in this.” 

Sanral has confirmed that Alli is personally aware of the allegations relating to his affidavit and has asked their lawyers to get to the bottom of what happened.

“We are aware of the fraud allegations that have been made in court proceedings,” says spokesman Vusi Mona. 

“Sanral views all allegations of fraud in a very serious light. Our lawyers are in the process of investigating these allegations and preparing a response which will be filed in due course as part of these court proceedings.”

Social worker and member of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, John Clarke, has been involved in the Wild Coast battle and says he has now written to Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to flag what has happened. He says he hopes Sanral will do more than just investigate.

“Will they see what is plainly before them and immediately report the matter to the Hawks to ensure whoever is responsible is prosecuted? … Mr Alli needs to prepare himself for some extremely tough questioning from Minister Peters, as well as the parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport, who have also been alerted to the matter.”   

While Sanral claims the new highway will empower the communities along the route (jobs, access to nearby areas, less travel time, etc) those opposed to it believe it will damage the environment, split up villages and may even pave the way to some unwelcome mining in the region. 

There is no date yet for when this case will be heard in court, but Cullinan believes it will be later this year. There is also no indication when Sanral will give its full reply as to how the supporting affidavits came to be and who is responsible for their existence. 

At the same time, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein is today expected to hear arguments in a case concerning Sanral’s proposed Winelands Route in the Western Cape. 

The dispute at this stage is around how much information about the tolled highway Sanral is making public. As was the case with Gauteng’s e-tolls, Sanral stands accused of trying to deny South Africans an opportunity to interrogate the project before it’s signed and sealed. 

As for what’s happening with the e-tolling network in and around Johannesburg, the province awaits word from Deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, which is expected soon. 

The fraud allegations to emerge in the Wild Coast project should shock not only the attorney involved and the woman whose signature seems to have been forged – but an entire nation. 

It should lead to a criminal investigation and prosecutions. 

Alli should be on the front lines of trying to get answers. You’ll want to watch closely how Sanral explains this one.    

Alex Eliseev is an Eyewitness News reporter and the author of an upcoming book about a 13-year-old cold case titled Cold Case Confession. Follow him on Twitter at @alexeliseev




Sanral that is breaking the law

  • Posted on: 5 February 2015
  • By: JB

“WE ARE not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Executed by Nazi regime. 1945

Sanral board member Peter Derman argues that “Not to pay e-tolls is simply breaking the law”, and refers to various court judgements which Sanral claim as sufficient vindication of the lawfulness of e-tolling. 

No, it is Sanral’s failure to meaningfully consult that is not simply breaking the law, but has in consequence created a serious crisis of legitimacy. Worse still, the GFIP cost many billions more than it should have because of Sanral’s failure to prevent tender collusion and price fixing by construction cartels. That has left an odious debt and economic crime that present and future generations cannot by any standard of justice, be expected to carry. If not vigorously prosecuted that alone renders the boycott of e-tolls a laudable act of responsible citizenship.

Two stories, and another High Court judgement further illustrate why Peter Derman is skating on thin ice in claiming the constitutional and moral high ground for Sanral.

Story One

Pasika Nontshiza is a community land rights activist from the Eastern Cape. For more than a decade he has been working to ensure the most vulnerable and disadvantaged are at the forefront of development decisions that affect them and thus helps them to become ever more the protagonists of their own development.  More than a decade ago Sanral CEO Nazir Alli was on the campaign trail to sell the controversial N2 Wild Coast Toll Road, on behalf a consortium of construction companies who had supposedly lodged an unsolicited proposal to build a short cut for the N2. A “consultative meeting” had been scheduled at the Wild Coast Sun resort. Pasika fetched as many local residents from the scattered rural homesteads as he could fit into his bakkie to drive them to the meeting.

“The attitude Nazir Alli showed to people who had come to represent their views, as well as those of the late King Justice Mpondombini Sigcau was disgusting” Nontshiza recalls. “The villagers were a far cry and worlds apart from those who had invited Nazir Alli. The supporters of the tolling were well dressed in the latest designer clothes as they had acquired a new status of being a Wild Coast consortium whereas the owners of the land and people supposed to benefit from the road showed signs of fatigue, thirst and hunger but they were armed only with one thing: ‘prevent looting of our ancestral land’.”

When the villagers rose to question what benefit the toll road would bring to them, “feathers were ruffled” for it was quite clear that it would benefit an Australian mining company which was working below the radar to prospect for heavy minerals in the coastal dunes.  Without the road the minerals could never be mined and trucked our to global commodity markets.

“Journalist were also questioning why was the King of amaMpondo not invited, or at least to send a representative” says Nontshiza.

Nazir Alli labelled Pasika Nontshiza as a “white apologist who cared nothing for the poor”!

After the meeting Pasika then had to drive the residents’ home over bad gravel roads to their remote homesteads (without a white man within 20 miles). As they neared the Nyameni River at midnight his passengers urged him to switch off his headlights to avoid attracting attention of the thugs and bullies (well known for their intimidation and fear tactics) sponsored by the mining company whose homes were nearby. Pasika managed with little more than moonlight to light his way to get through the danger zone.

When Pasika shared that experience with me years later, it occurred to me that the crossing of the Nyameni River (the "dark river" in Xhosa) was the crossing of a symbolic threshold of the start of a growing protest against Sanral manipulative and unconstitutional methods. “Little did Nazir Alli knew, consciously or unconsciously that he was sowing the seeds of a revolution, to regain the most valuable asset on earth: The right to be heard.” 

The protest has now mushroomed to millions of people from Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape who are claiming their constitutional rights to freedom of expression, access to information, dignity and administrative justice. As Cormac Cullinan, the attorney now representing the Wild Coast villagers and the City of Cape Town over the Cape Winelands project says, “one of the fundamental methods which our Constitutional democracy uses to ensure that laws are perceived to be legitimate is by enshrining the requirements for just administrative action (and access to information) which includes providing an opportunity for the public to participate in decision-making processes by commenting on proposed measures.  This means that adequate public consultation is one of the building blocks on which legitimacy rests.”

Sanral is a public body that is required to act in the public interest and to play its part, “ to provide effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government “ (Constitution section 41(1))c)) and to  comply with the basic values and principles governing public administration (Constitution, section 195(1)) which include transparency and accountability.

“Sanrals’s persistent failure (in Gauteng, Cape Town and Wild Coast) to act transparently and provide information on likely tolls etc, has not enabled meaningful and effective public participation” Cullinan says. “Sanral’s stubborn refusal to modify its projects in response to public reaction has generated a crisis of legitimacy.”  

Judgment One

“Consultation must be more than mere opportunity that the executive gives to the consulted to make effective representations… the right to be consulted is valuable … giving those who have the right to be consulted an opportunity to be heard… at a formative stage of proposals before the mind of the executive becomes fixed [pages 22-23].”  

This excerpt is from a criminal judgement handed down in June 2006, by the Deputy Judge President of the South Gauteng High Court, Judge Phineas Mojapelo that found Sanral to have failed badly in its obligation to consult with local residents affected by the tolling concession awarded to the Trans Africa Consortium for the N4 Maputo Development Corridor Toll Road. Believing that his rights had been violated a local farmer Mr Nicolaas Smit had pleaded not guilty to criminal charges on sixteen counts for refusing to pay toll at the Nkomati Toll Plaza. He was found not guilty because the toll road in question had not been lawfully declared as such for want of a proper public consultation process that gave expression to the Bill of Rights.

Judge Mojapelo’s judgment offered some very cogent lessons for the learning.  He devoted nine of the 82 page judgment to provide legal content and definition to the term “consultation” and, based on the definition, another 35 pages to assessing and evaluating the evidence, before concluding that consultation had not in fact taken place as required by law. 

The judgment included a telling reference to Mr Alli’s conduct and attitude in a public meeting in Middelburg which ended acrimoniously. Mr Alli had been questioned whether decisions about the positioning of plaza’s had been finally determined and if not, whether opportunities to make representations existed. Judge Mojapelo notes “Mr Alli gave a somewhat long response which eventually came down to this:  “No, you cannot talk to us any further, the positions are cast in stone.”  A group of sixteen people walked out in disgust at his “intransigent attitude” and subsequently issued a media release condemning the “lack of transparency in dealing with this matter” saying that it was “totally meaningless to invite the public to a consultative meeting” if decisions had already been made [page 42 -44].

A helpful judgment is one which wisely and appropriately blends justice and mercy. Justice is served by good law and mercy by a carefully worded text that serves as a resource to help the loser learn from the experience, develop insight and come to an acceptance of the need to change their unlawful ways. Mr Alli showed no learning whatsoever from the experience.

The judgement came some months before Sanral commenced a “consultation process” leading to the declaration of the Gauteng freeways as toll roads.  Had Sanral learned the lessons offered by that judgment, they would not be in the very serious financial crisis over e-tolls that now prevails.     

Story 2

On Friday June 13 2014, Nonhle Mbuthuma, who was just out of high school when her elders were bouncing along in Pasika’s bakkie in the dark night after Nazir Alli’s shocking contempt for them and their King, found herself admitted to another “consultation meeting” about the N2 Wild Coast Toll road, also held at the Wild Coast Sun.  Nazir Alli appeared to making good his failure to consult with the Mpondo Royal Family ten years before.  Except he was consulting with the wrong "king". He and Vusi Mona were meeting with Zanuzuko Sigcau, a government-sponsored claimant to the Mpondo Kingship. Alli, with Royal honorifics and salutations, informed him and his followers that construction of the N2 Wild Coast shortcut was soon to commence, (even though two court cases have yet to be heard against it) and that Sanral would soon be arranging helicopter flights for "His Majesty" and his subject chiefs to see where Sanral planned to span the gorges.

This was not only disrespectful to the judicial review process, but in blatant contempt of the Constitutional Court judgment handed down in June 2013 that had set aside President Zuma's illegal certification of Zanuzuko as king of AmaMpondo. Mr Alli made promises that he had absolutely no legal authority to make. 

The Challenge

The Sanral board of directors have strict fiduciary duties to ensure scrupulous ethical conduct and prudent risk management.

In his presentation to the E-Toll Advisory Panel Peter Derman acknowledged that no social impact assessment had been done for the GFIP but said that based on his previous experience as a social scientist that, he “would hazard a guess” that the GFIP would benefit the poor in the long term. The Advisory Panel has now established that e-tolling is decidedly not pro-poor and in fact reinforces apartheid spatial inequalities. 

As a social scientist myself, who is also bound by professional code of practice as a social worker which obliges me to challenge social and economic injustice, I need more than guess work to convince me of the legality and legitimacy of e-tolling. Peter Derman fears an "uprising". What we really need is an ‘upwising’ within the Sanral board, the Ministry of Transport and the current National Executive.

I will not pay any fines for not paying my e-toll bill and I do not relish the thought of imprisonment. But until the Sanral board of directors acts decisively to regain public trust, vigorously proceed with prosecutions against the colluding construction industry to recover the over-charging, and shows due respect for Mpondo customary law and traditions, my Christian conscience and social work ethical code obliges me to refuse to pay my e-toll bills.

“Blaming the public for failing to comply with the law misses the more important point that this outbreak of lawlessness is a response to the prior failure by Sanral to act in accordance with the Constitution” advises my attorney Cormac Cullinan. “Whether or not tolling roads is a good policy, or whether the GFIP tolls are fair, or whether e-tolling is an effective collection method, the process which lead to the e-tolls being implemented is perceive to have been unfair and insufficiently sensitive to the impact on the public. In consequence the laws are being resisted. Refusing to comply with laws that are perceived to be unjust is an essential democratic safeguard.”

He concludes “Unless public institutions respect the spirit (and letter) of the Constitution and facilitate the emergence of a more participatory democracy they are likely to continue to face such resistance.”



  • Posted on: 22 March 2014
  • By: JB

Click for full screen view


By ANDREW STONE and BONGANI FUZILE on March 22, 2014 (Daily Dispatch)

HIGHLY lucrative but illegal sand mining, on what was arguably one of the country’s most pristine coastlines, is behind the construction of government schools, RDP houses and private homes in the Eastern Cape.

A two-month long investigation has revealed local communities, building supply stores, local businessmen and even construction companies are involved in illegal sand mining operations along the Wild Coast.Click for full screen view

Dispatch reporters watched as this truck was loaded with sand from an illegal mine on the banks of the Mbashe River. Reporters followed it to a construction site of a government school Picture: ANDREW STONE

The police and the Port St Johns Municipality are aware of this but don’t seem to be doing much.

Today we can reveal three Eastern Cape construction giants – Mpumalanga Construction, Fitscape and AlfDav Construction – have all been using illegally mined sand to build schools and RDP houses in the Transkei.

Our month-long investigation also uncovered the following:

Local communities charge about R150 for an eight-ton load of sand which is then sold to the end user for between R1200 and R2600;
Employees from Centane and Ndabeni-based building supply companies admitted to undercover reporters they had sold illegally mined sand;
Reporters witnessed trucks belonging to Port Elizabeth-based construction company Fitscape collecting sand from the banks of a stream near Lusikisiki;
A truck carrying illegally mined sand from the banks of the Mbashe River was followed to a construction site near Elliotdale where East London-based Mpumalanga Construction is building a school for the government; and
A second newly built government school in Nombanjana village near Wavecrest was allegedly built using illegally mined sand.
Many of the mines are located in the 1km Coastal Conservation Area along the Wild Coast, a zone that was established to protect the sensitive coastal and estuarine environments of the region.

With no rehabilitation plans in place, the mines are destroying hundreds of acres of natural flora, causing massive soil erosion and degradation of roads by heavily laden trucks. If not checked, this could lead to the loss of thousands of tons of fertile soil being washed away, landslides and slumps becoming more common as hillsides are made unstable, and the silting of rivers.

The three construction companies have denied any involvement in the illegal operation.

Mpumalanga construction company is building a school, as part of the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (Asidi) in Elliotdale. AlfDav is building a similar school in Centane while Fitscape is building RDP houses in Ingquza Hill municipality. Asidi was set up in 2011 to eradicate mud schools, with 49 new schools having been built in the province since 2011. Another 49 schools were almost complete and another 120 were being planned for next year.

Mpumalanga Construction said it was not aware the sand had been illegally mined. Spokesman Ian Cooper said they were using a local supplier as per government tender requirements.

“There have been various suppliers [delivering sand] but I have not met them or seen any permits,” he said.

At Nombanjana village, AlfDav Construction is almost finished building a school with sand mined from inside the 1km protected coastal zone. Villagers said the firm had been mining sand since the start of the project two years ago.

But Azola Vela from AlfDav referred queries back to villagers. “It will be better if you can consult the committee of the Nombanjana Community where we bought the sand,” said Vela.

Further north near Lusikisiki, our team followed a large truck with a Fitscape Construction logo and contact details after it was seen loading sand from an illegal dig on the banks of a small stream. The company is building RDP houses for the Ingquza Hill Municipality in the area. Local councillor Nontobeko Daliwe said the company had promised to pay the community for the sand. “They promised to give us money and to build us a hall,” said Daliwe.

Andy Scoccia, speaking on behalf of Fitscape, denied the company mined sand illegally. “On what premise do you make this assumption? Could you give us names of persons spoken to and GPS co-ordinates for investigation,” he asked in an e-mail.

But when the Dispatch provided the details, Scoccia changed his tune.

“It could be an occasional load – as happens in most rural operations – was taken from a river bed but we buy our aggregates commercially as the norm,” he said.

In Port St Johns, the Dispatch witnessed illegal miners removing sand from a site in the town not far from the police station.

After flagging down a passing police vehicle, an officer said it was a “municipality problem, not ours”.

However this contradicts a letter written by PSJ station commander Colonel NX Mabula in 2012 to residents, in which he says police are committed to helping the municipality fight illegal sand mining. Port St Johns mayor Mnyamezeli Mangqo said the municipality was aware of the illegal sand mining and “is responding”.

A local businessman, ZNdabeni, was arrested for sand mining on municipal land on March 7. His truck was impounded and he appeared in court on March 10.

Department of Mineral Resources spokeswoman Ayanda Shezi said: “Community awareness sessions are being held in conjuction with the department of rural development and agrarian reform. Perpetrators are informed and educated when confronted.”

Permits had been granted to mine sand in Port St Johns and near the Mbashe River, but did not give the exact locations, Shezi said.

DEDEAT and SEFA sign a R110 000 000 worth Wild Coast Development Fund MoA

  • Posted on: 29 November 2013
  • By: JB

28 November 2013 - International.To

In the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), and Small Enterprise Finance Agency SOC Limited (SEFA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will see both parties contributing an amount of R55 000 000 (fifty five million rand) each to establish a R110 000 000 (one hundred and ten million rand) Fund, subject to a due diligence exercise and approval by their respective regulatory and governance structures and National and/or Provincial Treasury.

The MOA, signed by Eastern Cape DEDEAT MEC (DEDEAT), honourable Mcebisi Jonas and SEFA Chairperson Dr S Magwentshu-Rensburg will provide financial and non-financial assistance to SME’s in the Wild Coast Region of the Eastern Cape Province. “The purpose of this MOU is to establish collaboration between Parties and encourage development of SMMEs within the Wild Coast Region of the Eastern Cape Province” said MEC Mcebisi Jonas. “We will establish a joint project steering committee to oversee the establishment of the Fund including the approval of its Business Plan and modus operandi. The purpose of this MOA is to record a mutual relationship between us and the department and simultaneously record each of our undertakings and/ or obligations” added Dr Magwentshu-Rensburg.

The Parties wish to setup a Wild Coast Development Fund which will provide financial and non-financial assistance to SME’s in the Wild Coast Region of the Eastern Cape Province with a view to:
Facilitating access to business opportunities for SMEs within the Wild Coast Region of the Eastern Cape.

The anticipated duration of the contract shall be for a period of 5 years (five) years and may be renewed or extended for a period as may be mutually determined by the Parties.
DEDEAT forms part of the provincial government’s intent to spearhead growth and development of the provincial economy. Policy priorities are derived from the Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP), Provincial Industrial Development Strategy, and other high impact policy and linkages to initiatives such as the Provincial Job Strategy and now the National Development Plan (NDP).
SEFA, which is the result of a merger between South African Finance Apex Fund, Khula Enterprise Ltd and Small Business activities of IDC, has as its `mandate to foster the establishment, survival and growth of SMMEs and contribute towards poverty alleviation and job creation.
This agreement was signed during the Eastern Cape Integrated Wild Coast Development Programme (IWCDP) Summit held in OR Tambo Region on 14 November 2013. The summit took place at the back of a string of extensive and incisive stakeholder consultations within the affected regions.

Wild Coast plan to boost region by R40bn

  • Posted on: 26 November 2013
  • By: JB


Forecaster Ecosa|

25 November 2013 (


Major infrastructure projects expected to crowd-in private sector investment.

The Integrated Wild Coast Development Programme and its constituents such as the upgrading of the Mthatha airport, the N2 Wild Coast Highway and the Umzimvubu Catchment Development will boost this Eastern Cape region’s economy by a conservative R40bn over the next decade.

This will have a massive economic impact in a region where, for the whole of the Eastern Province, the Human Sciences Research Council estimated that the poverty gap was R14.8bn in 2001 with 72% of the province below the poverty line. Poverty estimates are calculated using a poverty line that varies according to household size. A household of four people had a poverty income of R1 290 per month in 2001.

The poorest municipality in South Africa is Ntabankulu in the Eastern Cape (in the wild coast region), where 85% of its residents live below the poverty line. Seven of the ten poorest municipalities are located in the Eastern Cape.

“We are looking at investments of between R30bn to R40bn over the next decade,” Eastern Cape Member of the Executive Council for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Mcebisi ‘Smiley’ Jonas told a media briefing in Mthatha at the conference presenting the programme to stakeholders.

The reasonable expectation is that R16bn invested in major infrastructure projects by the public sector will crowd-in private sector investment worth at least three times that amount.

The jobs multiplier is normally in excess of five, so for instance during the construction phase of the Wild Coast highway 6 800 direct jobs will be created, while 28 100 indirect jobs be provided. The multiplier is 21 in the subsequent maintenance period with 900 direct jobs and 18 900 indirect jobs.

Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said the reform of the agrarian land tenure system would be an enabler with new proposals such as state land being leased for 30 years as a way forward.

“People must not be locked into the past by ideology and hung up on freehold. Most banks will accept 30-year leasehold as collateral,” Nkwinti said.

Jonas said land tenure issues would be handled on a case-by-case basis as one size did not fit all.

“What we are aiming for is sustainable development, where large retailers and agro-processing firms provide their expertise in the form of supply chain management and the latest agricultural techniques, while the community provide land and labour. Payment for these factors of production can take various forms,” he said.

The projects

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa outlined an R8bn first phase dam and water reticulation programme for the Umzimvubu catchment area.

“Half a million people will benefit from the water reticulation project, while thousands of jobs will be created both directly and indirectly during the construction phase,” she said.

The first phase scheme consists of a large dam at Ntabelanga and a smaller dam at Laleni, both on the Tsitsa river upstream of the Tsitsa Falls. The estimated cost of these dams and the water reticulation project is just over R8bn in 2013 rand.

The proposed timelines see the detailed design of the project starting in November 2013. Rehabilitation of the catchment area including combating erosion and eliminating alien vegetation begins in February 2014.

The construction phase of the Ntabelanga dam lasts from November 2014 to February 2018, while the bulk water infrastructure will be built from October 2015 to September 2019 with the irrigation scheme being constructed from July 2016 to June 2020. The 180 Megawatts (MW) Laleni Hydropower Scheme is due to be erected from October 2016 to September 2019.

The Wild Coast highway is a strategic infrastructure project but has been held up by court action. It will link East London with Durban and will be 69 km shorter than the existing N2 route resulting in a time of between 75 minutes and 135 minutes. Both the time and fuel savings due to the lower altitude and fewer hills to climb will be the reason why truckers will still gain even though the route will be tolled. A total of 560 km will be redeveloped with an 80 km stretch being a greenfields development between Ndwalane and Mtentu.

The estimated costs are R5.1bn for the greenfields section, R2.1bn for the bridges over the Msikaba and Mtentu rivers and R1.8bn for upgrading of the existing N2 / R61 route. The detailed design of the two major bridges are completed, while the designs for a further seven minor bridges are in progress.

An indication of how the region will benefit is that R481m will be spent directly on wages, R360m will be spent on local manufactures, R240m will be the income of local retailers and R120m will be the income of local service providers.

Apart from the tourism sector, where every eight additional tourists results in one new job, the Wild Coast has enormous development potential in agriculture and agro-processing. Detailed studies have shown that the area has a competitive advantage in terms of rain, soil and climate for the cultivation of sub-tropical fruit and nuts, dairy production, lambs, wool, goats, forestry, maize, soya beans, canola, sunflower, groundnuts, sorghum, stone fruit such as peaches and nectarines and vegetables under irrigation.

An indication of the size of this agricultural potential is that if all the potential crop land was well farmed, more than 5 tons of maize could be achieved per hectare resulting in a total harvest of over 2 million tons of maize. This is more than double the current consumption of the regional population. The grazing area could support some 460 000 mature livestock units worth some R2bn.

Disclaimer: My trip to the Eastern Cape was sponsored by the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

*Forecaster Ecosa compiles forecasts on Africa’s economic future.

Government aims to tame the Wild Coast

  • Posted on: 20 November 2013
  • By: JB

Insanity. They want to 'industrialise agriculture' in the Transkei. But to reverse the legacy of the 1913 land act, no title deed can be given. (+Fe) Despite the fact that Nkwinti acknowledges that everyone WANTS title to their land - his department has to meet the challenge to "balance the land market" vis a vis those who have vs those who don't.

Indeed, the current owners can lease their land from government. Or be relocated, rather, as the likes of Cyril Ramaphosa and his legions usurp all the land in another disastrous repression of human rights with some mad aim to benefit the rich while the local inhabitants will lose their land and be subjected to serfdom forever.

Nkwinti is talking about leasing their land out from under them for a minimum of 30 years.

BY DOMINIC PREUSS, NOVEMBER 18 2013 (Business Day)

See the interview on Youtube

INFRASTRUCTURE was the hot topic at the Wild Coast development summit held in Mthatha on Thursday, with hopes that planned upgrades to the N2 highway through the Eastern Cape will speed the development of industry and agriculture in the province.

In this video BDFM talks to Eastern Cape MEC Mcebisi Jonas about plans to create a special economic zone (SEZ) in Mthatha, and Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti on the new land reform strategy.


Wild Coast ‘needs up to R40bn to develop it’

  • Posted on: 20 November 2013
  • By: JB

Eastern Cape economic development and environmental affairs MEC Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: THE HERALDEastern Cape economic development and environmental affairs MEC Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: THE HERALD

Insanity: They'll address the root cause of development failure - land tenure - after they spend R40 billion destroying the Wild Coast for ever.

But check how he phrases it:

 "We need leaders who can go in and make deals with rural communities and then legalise those deals," Mr Jonas said.

"Then they can continue to have their debates about land tenure if they want to."

BY SHANNON SHERRY, NOVEMBER 18 2013 (Business Day)

BETWEEN R30bn and R40bn will be needed to unlock the potential of the Eastern Cape’s underdeveloped Wild Coast region, provincial economic development, environmental affairs and tourism MEC Mcebisi Jonas said on Friday.

He was speaking in an interview after the Integrated Wild Coast Development Summit ended on Friday. The aim of the summit was to lobby for the needs of the region to be put on the national agenda.

"We won’t be able to dent levels of poverty without amounts of this nature to instal the backbone infrastructure that is needed," Mr Jonas said. The amount included R10bn for the upgrading of roads and more than R8bn for a water and hydroelectric scheme.

South African National Roads Agency Port Elizabeth project engineer Marlize Nel-Verwey said during the conference that the long-awaited new N2 highway, linking East London to KwaZulu-Natal through the former Transkei, would go ahead. This would be as soon as a court case opposing it was resolved.

Mr Jonas said "a change in mentality" and "leadership" were also needed to transform the region. "For example, 60% of the province’s livestock is in this region, but 85% of the income from livestock goes elsewhere in the province.

"The problem is commercialisation and it indicates the change in mentality that is needed. Something needs to be done to effect this ."

Leadership was needed to make deals with communities where land-tenure issues were a serious obstacle to development. "We need leaders who can go in and make deals with rural communities and then legalise those deals," Mr Jonas said.

"Then they can continue to have their debates about land tenure if they want to."

But Mr Jonas warned that there was no template for making deals with communities. "Each rural community is different and the approach needs to be constantly adapted when dealing with each," he said.

For example, there were "illegal operators" performing functions such as building, but when action was attempted against them, communities would defend them. "They have done what government should be doing," Mr Jonas said.

"They have spoken to the communities and they have made deals. They have defined a market for what they supply."

He said the provincial government was driving a strategy to attract investment in agriculture by the big agricultural companies. "We need a demand-led strategy in which people look at markets and supply those markets.

"It is often said that not everyone wants to be a farmer. That is true, but everyone wants an income."

It was not the first time similar initiatives had been attempted, Mr Jonas said. "From as early as 1996, the government established the Wild Coast spatial development initiative to maximise the … underutilised economic potential of the area.

"Other major interventions in partnership with donor agencies were the European Union Wild Coast support programme and the Wild Coast conservation and sustainable development programme. These previous attempts failed but not so much because of shortcomings in their development logic.

"The logic of a corridor development initiative with a clear and well-defined spatial focus within which integrated planning, resource mobilisation and catalytic projects can be implemented must be retained in this renewed initiative."

Mr Jonas said it had been decided to build on these programmes. "A precondition for development and sustained management of the Wild Coast is a shared vision between the government, business, traditional leaders, civil society organisations and local communities."

Mr Jonas’s thinking informs much of the initiative and he hopes his experience in the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (from 1999 until 2004) and the private sector afterwards, before joining government four years ago, will help.

Fury over delay in tarring of Wild Coast gravel road

  • Posted on: 15 November 2013
  • By: JB

AN ABANDONED multimillion-rand tar road project has a Wild Coast community up in arms. The contractor has now left – after having taken more than a year to tar 3km of a 25km stretch of gravel road.

 END OF ROAD: Concerned community members Gerald Goosen, Sherwin Carr and Lucky Sitwayi walk on an abandoned tar road project on the Wild Coast

END OF ROAD: Concerned community members Gerald Goosen, Sherwin Carr and Lucky Sitwayi walk on an abandoned tar road project on the Wild Coast

END OF ROAD: Concerned community members Gerald Goosen, Sherwin Carr and Lucky Sitwayi walk on an abandoned tar road project on the Wild Coast
Disgruntled business and taxi owners gathered on site yesterday to discuss a way to solve the problem, which they say has impacted negatively on their lives.

The project, which was to have connected the Centane town centre with Kei Mouth and Qolora Mouth, was abandoned earlier this year.

Lone Rock contractors, which began work on the project in 2011, tarred a 3km stretch from Qolora Mouth towards Centane.

Public Works provincial spokesman Sisanda George said there were several challenges that brought the work to a standstill. These included:

The community demanding the state pay for the gravel, which was taken from a local quarry; and

Delays in budget approval to cover additional costs.

George said officials met with the provincial treasury last week to resolve matters involving costs of the project due to delays.

He said these issues had now been resolved.

“By next week the contractor will be back on site,” he said.

He had not confirmed the cost of the project by the time of going to print.

Lone Rock project manager Thamsanqa Magoswana said the company also experienced challenges relating to its relations with sub-contractors.

However, he would not be drawn into commenting further on these, saying only that work would resume next week.

“I’m here to make arrangements for the accommodation of workers. “Work will start next week,” he said. He said the first phase of the project involved tarring 6.1km, of which 3km had been done, although only the first surface had been laid out and more work would be done next week.

One of the affected businessmen, Sherwin Carr of Trennery’s Hotel, said the poor state of the gravel road from Centane to Qolora Mouth, where the hotel is located, was bad for business.

“Our biggest concern is that the gravel road is in a bad condition and visitors to the hotel are complaining about it.”

He cited an incident where a visitor had to pay more than R10 000 to replace tyres.

He said even the newly tarred road was too rough for cars because it was just the first layer of the tar surface.

Taxi owner Pozi-Pozi Mkhahleli said he had spent more than R9 000 in the space of three months fixing his cars.

“I can’t make a profit because of the condition of this road,” he said.

Another taxi owner, Lucky Sitwayi, said government had to finish tarring the road. “It is costing us. “I have sold livestock to pay for vehicle repairs.”


Balancing diverse needs in developing Wild Coast

  • Posted on: 15 November 2013
  • By: JB

By OWETHU PANTSHWA on November 14, 2013 in Metro, Opinion (Daily Dispatch)

HOW does one address the coastal development and how, in particular, does one transform the Wild Coast into a strategic economic centre, not only for the province but for the country?

These are among the issues that will come under the spotlight at the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism’s Wild Coast Development Programme sessions in East London today and tomorrow.

Unlocking development of the Wild Coast could be a critical step in redressing the historic frontiers of underdevelopment based on segregation and colonialisation that have characterised this area for centuries.

There is generally massive interest in mixed use and tourism development, both from a political point of view and for the sake of the development of rural communities. But coastal development is very slow. In reality there are no developments that can bring about economic change and sustainable employment of these very deprived communities.

Communities in these localities – the OR Tambo District Municipality in particular – have high levels of unemployment and live far below the poverty line.

This contributes to the underdevelopment of the Eastern Cape and broadly adds to the inequalities of the country.

According to the World Bank, South Africa is regarded as one of the most unequal societies in the world, and recently East London was identified as one of the most unequal cities in the country. The development of the Wild Coast could go a long way in making a remedial impact.

The Wild Coast is highly regarded in terms of its natural beauty and environmental heritage, and there is a significant amount of virgin land available.

Two things that will have an impact on the development of the Wild Coast are the protection of the environment and land issues. If these two elements are not addressed, the development of the Wild Coast will remain a dream and not become a reality.

The protection of the natural environment and preservation of ecological processes, natural systems and beauty is critical in an area known for bio diversity. This can be addressed through environmentally friendly initiatives that have a long term outlook.

The Transkei Decree No 9, volume 17 has a direct effect on what and how we can develop the coastal areas, as do many other environmental policies both international and local.

Land issues involve challenges dating back to historic land reform practices, especially in the former homelands.

In the context of the Wild Coast, the land is de facto owned and occupied by African people who are custodians of the land, not the owners in terms of the common law.

The constitution is more concerned with basic rights than de facto rights.

The challenge of ownership leads to an unwarranted predicament of underdevelopment. This is due to an inability to develop land because of legislative guidelines which limit what can be done on particular portions of land.

In the land development paradigm, investments are concluded using civil rights where land is indigenously managed and owned. Such rights limit investment possibilities.

Before the recognition of indigenous laws as part of the legal system in South Africa, the subdivision of tribal land for investment purposes was possible.

However, when permission is granted to occupy land as part of “ownership” or recognised land occupancy, such ownership is not guaranteed in legal terms. For example, no legal system supports the establishment of townships on communal land.

Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti has on many occasions emphasised that no investor is willing to invest when matters of land tenure are not addressed.

There are multiple challenges in terms of dealing with land tenure. In some rural areas there are conflicts where the clarity of the rights and responsibilities are involved. Procedures must be adopted to deal with such challenges.

Current aspects such as the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act, Act No 31 of 1996 have not yet yielded any positive outcomes and are not a solution to development projections.

In rural areas, the issue of securing land ownership is complicated, difficult to achieve and less secure than elsewhere. Constitutionally, insecure tenure of land must be secured in terms of Section 25, subsection 6 of the constitution.

This paradoxically leads to a complicated situation wherein the secured ownership can only be achieved through the registration of property boundaries.

This limitation has to be addressed before development of the Wild Coast can take off. Therefore, parliament has to come up with legislation that deals with security of tenure.

The Communal Land Rights Act, Act No 11 of 2004, was declared unconstitutional on the basis of land rights and the strong prominence on usufructuary rights.

This was to prepare for a freehold land tenure system to allow recognised land ownership by communities. The contractual obligations based on common law would only be considered in areas where land could be registered.

This was to protect the interests of the private sector as land can be repossessed and be sold to a willing buyer in the event that different parties are not fully satisfied or do not agree on some of the conditions of agreements.

Currently, the indigenous law system places more emphasis on community ownership than individual ownership, which is a strong characteristic of the ubuntu philosophy. However, this must lead to direct benefits of the abantu (people).

In order to address these complexities, traditional leaders in different structures must be mobilised. Traditional leaders are in support of the Wild Coast development. However an approach needs to be taken that will benefit all the parties involved.

Wild Coast development will address underdevelopment in rural areas by creating employment and addressing poverty. It will also address social issues associated with underdevelopment such as migration and urbanisation.

In the event of the status quo remaining, it would be advisable to provide infrastructure development as well as feasible business initiatives and incentives for potential investors.

Further, there is a need for capacity building of local SMMEs, youth and unemployed communities. A radical approach should be taken in order to deal with issues of interconnectedness in our backward economies.

It is in the interests of the state to see the developments taking off in these historic underprivileged areas and support some development trajectories. In the case of the former Transkei, there were always stringent requirements and in the post-apartheid South Africa this should not be the case.

Initiatives must also be driven by communities and clear community benefits must be outlined for affected areas.

The power should remain with the traditional leadership and development must not be seen as taking away their mandated powers. Such an approach will limit the possibility of conflict that is often the case in some developments.

There is often a challenge and a feeling that people in some communities are at times enemies of their own prosperity. This is evident in the objections received to the proposed coastal N2 where some communities objected to proposals that would benefit them.

Therefore, development must be understood to be about social change and evolution with the people owning the process.

Owethu Pantshwa is director of planning and development, for the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism

Awesome SA: Screw Business as Usual 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.

Bulungula Homestay/Village Based Accomodation

Nqileni is home to a vibrant rural community where times have sometimes been tough; migrant labour has taken its toll on family structure and health service & education have been difficult to access. But in spite of these challenges, the typical scene at sunset is children singing beautiful harmonies as they walk up the hills together on their way home, Mama’s laughing together as they collect water from nearby springs while men and boys effortlessly herd their cattle home to their kraals. The Xhosa traditions are strongly adhered to and are respected by Traditionalists and the Religious alike. Email Reservations to: ? ? You can get more information on . For information about the Bulungula Incubator, log on to

Penguin visits Hole in the Wall

  • Posted on: 11 July 2011
  • By: JB
Inyoni (AKA Slipway)Inyoni (AKA Slipway)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. Charlene & InyoniCharlene & Inyoni"Inyoni", as Ian and Charlene named it, is being transported to the East London aquarium today. "Threats Of the 1.5-million African Penguin population estimated in 1910, only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th-century. African penguin populations, which breed in Namibia and South Africa, have declined by 95 percent since preindustrial times. Commercial fisheries have forced these penguins to search for prey farther off shore, as well as making them eat less nutritious prey, since their preferred prey has become scarce. Global climate change is also affecting these penguin's prey abundance." (From African PenquinAfrican Penquin"The latest African Penguin census revealed that there are less than 100 000 adults left. Given the large decrease in the 20th century, there is considerable concern about the long-term viability of the African Penguin in the wild. Guano and egg collection caused a near collapse in the penguin population. More recently, reduced availability of pelagic fish, resulting from competition with commercial fisheries, has been responsible for the ongoing declines. the vulnerability of African Penguins is increased further by its concentration within relatively small geographic areas. Consequently, catastrophic events, in the form of oil spills affecting thousands of birds have now become one of the most immediate threats facing African Penguins. The one ray of hope in this otherwise dark cloud is that the African Penguin is a robust and tough animal and thus able to deal with the rehabilitation process far better than other species." (From:

Many more toll roads coming

  • Posted on: 30 May 2011
  • By: JB

Some of the comments are really funny. E.g.:

Mifozi, wrote
IOL Comments
09:06am on 30 May 2011
IOL Comments

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.

Original article:

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 

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ANC outrage at toll roads ANC outrage at toll roads 2 June 2010 By Arthi Sanpath and Bheki Mbanjwa Opposition to toll roads in the Durban area is building to tsunami proportions as the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal urged motorists to avoid the new King Shaka International Airport toll. It also said it was flabbergasted at the tolling decisions, including the proposed booths on the N2 just south of Durban. In its most damning criticism yet of the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), ANC provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, said people should use the alternative route (R102) to and from the airport. The party's provincial executive committee this week also said the idea of erecting a toll road near Amanzimtoti was ill-conceived, one that would impact negatively on commuters. It criticised Sanral for not consulting stakeholders such as the eThekwini Municipality and the KwaZulu-Natal government. "The ANC is flabbergasted by Sanral's approach of constructing tollgates without even consulting the people who are affected by such tollgates. The ANC in KZN will continue to engage the national Minister of Transport, S'bu Ndebele, with a view to stopping the construction of the proposed tollgate," Zikalala said.