Sun May 28, 2017 1:25 pm
Ah right Bushcraft, now I understand!!!!!! Thanks for the explanation.
How are you and "The Cow?"
Sun May 28, 2017 1:31 pm
How are you and "The Cow?"
So you are the same Val
I'm glad to see you posting
We are ok, the Cow still gives me a hard time
How are you doing
Sun May 28, 2017 3:25 pm
Not the best if I am honest, but we must all soldier on!!!!
Mon May 29, 2017 12:33 pm
Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:44 pm
Meeting done, about a dozen public, including a lady who came all the way from Cape Town!
Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:31 pm
Will it at all be possible for a report back?? Call it a admin TR,..
Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:43 am
For what it is worth here is my input on the meeting held yesterday as well as the document that I had hoped to read but was eventually made to simply hand in. Whether my assessment is a true reflection of other people's perception about the meeting is another issue!
Firstly the venue was in the centre of town which given the fact that Durban's CBD area has been a NO GO zone for the past few days made it a somewhat doubtful starter. It was also the eve of the Comrades Marathon so Durban is bursting at the seems. The actual venue was way too big and almost overwhelmed the pathetic few who bothered to attend. On a side note perhaps RSVP in future by a stipulated date would secure venues that were more accessible and better suited in size.The attendance was (approximate) The Facilitator, 7 or 8 Sanparks Staff and 13 or 14 members of the public.
The meeting was run along a route that veered from being extremely formal at some times to extremely informal with some banter at others. As an observation the presentation by Sanparks has an accompanying slide show which detail is virtually impossible for anybody to read on a large screen. This necessitated quite a few questions for clarification about occupancy percentages, areas of development etc. The presentation did not attempt to address any of the specific developments in the pipeline but skirted around some carefully pre-pared slides which most laymen would not understand. When pertinent questions were put regarding specifics the staff could in most cases not answer these in full as they simply said they did not know. For example the number of visitors to the Park. It emerged that communities that live around the Park can visit at a fee far below the daily conservation fee applicable to other South Africans.
The breakaway for group discussions was of necessity comprised of very small groups 4 and 5 given the low attendance and the Sanparks staff as well as the Facilitator kind of rotated through these groups helping in some instances. However, the guidelines around the three main topics were chosen words and although each group did appear to bring out very different discussions there was once again no chance at this point to tackle the congestion etc. In the tea break it was however conveyed to Sanparks staff that many of those present were unhappy at the lack of etiquette in the Park, the lack of control over the OSV industry insofar as radios and the App problem was also brought up. Whether any of this discussion will find its way through to the Sanparks next meeting to discuss the participant's concerns is a moot point.
The impression I personally got was that some of the Sanparks representatives were almost sympathetic to a lot of what was being discussed whilst others were not. It was announced that the results of all of these meetings would now be amalgamated into a draft report by Sanparks and although many of us were keen to ask whether it would be right for anything to forge ahead in the interim this was clearly not the right time to do so.
Lunch was then called and the end of the meeting signalled somewhat catching some of us by surprise. As mentioned a few had written out what they wanted to say and although I personally asked for this to be allowed to happen it did not. Just as a lost point of interest I personally get the vague feeling that Sanparks are somewhat surprised at the level of passion expressed by many about our wildlife and perhaps this is also the first time that the distinct possibility of a New Government in South Africa having a bearing that is very different to these regarding conservation.
For what it is worth here is my submission to Sanparks (please excuse spelling errors)
MANAGEMENT PLAN REVIEW – KRUGER PARK
It would be hoped that the Sanparks role in maintaining the biodiversity of such a magnificent World Heritage Site (which should be declared) such as the Kruger National Park should be excercised using total transparency and accountability. Sadly many South Africans feel that this has not been the case.
It would appear that there has been a lack of political will in many spheres to uphold the ethos of KNP as a place to be trodden on lightly and great respect for the tremendous biodiversity should in the same vein not be taken lightly. This requires extreme environmental conscience and when one gets the perception that commercialisation (money above everything else) becomes the driving force then one has to believe that it is a matter of time before this would be tantamount to killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Is conservation bowing to commercialisation? There is a plethora of information that there are virtually no legal guarantees that will safeguard the ethos of our Parks and stop them from being over developed. The Kruger National Park’s Mission Statement is “To maintain biodiversity in all its natural facets and fluxes and to provide human benefits in keeping with the mission of the SANP in a manner which detracts as little as possible from the wilderness qualities of the KNP”. This is fully covered by NEMA. Sanparks are bound by the Environment Conservation Acrt (ECA) No. 73 of 1989 as well as the EIA Regulations and Guidelines pertaining to the ECA, and the National Water Act (NWA) (NO. 36 of 1998) AND the National Environmental Management act (NEMA) (No. 107 of 1998 and the National Parks Act (NPA) No. 52 of 1976 and the Principles and Procedures of Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) under NEMA.
This mandate has, in many people’s opinion, been irrevocably changed in complete conflict with itself by the granting of the concessions, the continued barrage of new developments in the form of HUBS, hotels, allowing the culling of buffalo and hippo to show goodwill to communities, all sorts of hair brained schemes from tented camps to the erection of tents to private companies within camps for glamping, to new tarred roads that appear to be forging ahead despite the fact that an initial BAR has not even been completed, to allowing Kruger to be used as a thoroughfare without jurisdiction, to the complete abuse of gates and roads throughout the night, to the labour dispute now playing itself out with a franchise holder who is still operating in KNP but not under the franchise banner, to the protection of wildlife – with specific regard to rhino and elephant.
How will the possibility of a totally new government structure in the very near foreseeable future affect Sanpark’s ability to guarantee that the Kruger National Park is kept in as pristine a condition as possible for future generations?
EXCESS ACCOMMODATION AND MAINTENANCE
How will Sanparks deal with all of the accommodation that they will, within the time frame of this management plan, find reverting to them. Please note in this regard that it was legislated at the time of the granting of the concessions that they would only last for 20 years and that there was also no right to renew or right of first refusal. Please also remember that at the time the esteemed Dr. Ian Player believed that these concessions were ill conceived and had grave doubts as to their role in making KNP accessible to ALL South Africans as they were aimed at an elite and extremely upmarket overseas clientele. Much of the accommodation in Kruger Park is in desperate need of constant maintenance not emergency repairs and sadly the pricing structure of the current Sanparks accommodation has put it beyond the realm of most for an affordable bush holiday.
This should not be perceived by Sanparks as a token gesture and nor should they see the meetings currently being held as having met due process and that they were now entitled to rubber stamp all commercial planned activities having supposedly followed due process. Given that this due process was NOT followed in the case of the concessions, must we believe that Sanparks will now not take into account the chance for the public as well as specialists in their fields to contest these processes. After an extremely limited and small public participation process the concessions were granted as is and passed with the public hardly being aware that in excess of 100 000 hectares had been signed away to concession holders.
There is not a single person in this room nor in the hearts of most South Africans that does not abhor poaching and the relentless killing of our wildlife. This is a scourge that must be fought with full political will and the added commercialisation of the KNP will simply add to this scourge. Already, the usage of gates and the abuse of them and roads throughout the night by concession holders and staff is a major cause for concern. It is doubtful whether Sanparks is in full control as to who is staying in their staff villages, who is driving armed and with dubious intent through their gates and who is setting the thousands of shameful snares that are to be found throughout the Park. The baiting and luring of big cats is a major problem and if not tackled this will damage the integrity of Sanparks as many see the hunting alongside original Park boundaries in the Timbavati and APNR as well as the Greater Frontier Park on the Eastern boundary as nothing more than legal poaching. This has to be stopped. The Park needs to be cleansed from the inside out and Sanparks needs to be at the forefront of doing this whether it be in the form of increased boots on the ground, cutting cell phone signals, lifestyle audits, lie detector tests, sniffer dogs that are utilised in staff camps in surprise raids and any other tool in their armoury. This is a war that has to be won!!!!!
FINALLY – OUR FINANCIAL STAKE
Not only are we concerned stakeholders but many of us who have been loyal to Sanparks have spent in excess of HALF A MILLION RAND, some way more, others less, over our lifetimes to avail ourselves of the spiritual renewal and awakening that Kruger affords everyone.
Please do not let South Africans down in your endeavour to commercialise KNP – it’s the most tranquil place on earth according to the civet!
IS LIFE TRANQUIL ASKS THE CIVET?
ALL DEPENDS ON HOW YOU LIVE IT!
AND TO THIS RHETORIC QUESTION,
I MUST POSE YOU A SUGGESTION!
THOUGH THE QUESTION IS ABSORBING,
SO THE ANSWER IS REWARDING!
TO BE TRANQUIL IS NOT EASY!
LIFES’ NOT ALWAYS BRIGHT AND BREEZY!
TRY TO LIVE IT LIKE THE CIVET
TRY TO LOVE IT
AND TO LIVE IT!