[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Defeat for SA dam activists
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sun Nov 5 10:14:15 GMT 2006
(SA mining win again - with '90 000' jobs to be created... and if you
believe that, there's R104 billion in arms deal offsets to endorse next...)
03 November 2006
Delayed De Hoop dam project gets green light at last
Agriculture and Land Affairs Editor
WATER Affairs and Forestry Minister Lindiwe Hendricks has welcomed the
clearing of the final hurdle delaying construction of the controversial
De Hoop dam project in Limpopo.
Last month Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van
Schalkwyk partially upheld an administrative appeal against the project.
The dam is to be built in the Steelpoort River, a major tributary of the
Olifants, which flows past the Kruger National Park to Mozambique.
The South African Water Caucus, conservation body SANParks, the
Endangered Wildlife Trust and Geosphere of Mozambique objected to the
project mainly because of the potential environmental effect.
SA Water Caucus said earlier that the short-term (50-year) economic
benefits of the project might not be worth the damage to the Olifants
River catchment. The Olifants dried up for the first time in living
memory last year.
Potential negative effects included removal of valuable fauna and flora
during construction and the disruption of the river flow with an
associated effect on aquatic and downstream users. Local communities
upstream would have to be relocated.
Hendricks said yesterday her department welcomed Van Schalkwyk’s revised
record of decision (RoD).
“Having analysed the RoD, I believe the decision is fair,” she said. “My
department commissioned the R4,9bn project, of which the De Hoop Dam and
water-conveyance infrastructure form the main components, to meet the
urgent need for water in the middle Olifants River catchment and
adjacent areas in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga.”
Water affairs said the project would supply rural communities still
without a safe and reliable source of water.
Social and economic development with water being made available to the
mining sector would also benefit communities in the area.
Mining and associated industries, the major beneficiaries of a reliable
water supply, were expected to stimulate investment of more than R15bn
and create about 90000 sustainable jobs, with a knock-on effect
estimated at R2bn a year.
Van Schalkwyk’s revised RoD contained conditions for development, but
did not detract from the need for the dam. There was no viable
alternative for water supply to the dry Limpopo region, he said.
The revised RoD put greater emphasis on socioeconomic and environmental
aspects that would brought about by the dam.
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