Press Preview – presentation to Mtubatuba Municipality Council

ARBU – Association of Recreational Beach Users is a socio – economic development initiative within the tourism industry of the Elephant Coast for the 4U branded Group and Info4u CC is the prime sponsor of ARBU

The Mayor of Mtubatuba has considered an initial verbal presentation by ARBU (Association of Recreational beach users) of some of the issues around the closure of the coastal zones within Mtubatuba Municipality to reasonable motor vehicle access and the very negative impact on the local economy of Mtubatuba as well as the district wide losses associated with the absence of domestic tourists from the Elephant Coast tourism market caused b the 4×4 ban, and subsequently requested ARBU (Association of recreational Beach Users) to put a presentation together to form a local municipality coastal committee and arrange a meeting of ARBU management committee and the Mtubatuba Municipality council to discuss this further.

Question! : How do we mitigate the considerable losses associated with the 4×4 ban if we are not represented on any committee or forum where these issues are debated and major decisions are taken on behalf of the Mtubatuba rates payers as well as other people living within the Mtubatuba municipal area without our consent or even concern over the potential impact of these decisions on us as a community?

The integrated Coastal Management act makes provision for these issues and puts forward the notion that the economy and people must be considered in all environmental impact assessments especially those associated with coastal management.

In the Intro to the ICMA (Integrated Coastal management act) it states very clearly that “ ensuring that development and the use of natural resources within the coastal zone is socially and economically justifiable and ecologically sustainable “ is one of the many purposes of this act.

The following issues are highlighted in the pre-amble of the ICMA (integrated Coastal Management Act)

  • • Constitutional rights (Section 24 of the South African constitution)
  • • Integrated Coastal Management • sustainable development
  • • Protection of environment
  • • Biophysical, economic, social and institutional considerations
  • • Rich natural heritage
  • • Economic and social benefits
  • • Conservation and sustainable use
  • • A new co-operative approach to coastal management

The last sentence in the pre-amble of the ICMA (integrated Coastal Management Act) states that integrated coastal management should be an evolving process that learns from past experiences, that takes account of the functioning of the coastal zone as a whole and that seeks to co-ordinate and regulate the various human activities that take place in the coastal zone in order to achieve its conservation and sustainable use,

Section 48 in chapter 6 part 3 of the Integrated Coastal Management Act (ICMA) informs us that a coastal Municipality must, within 4 years of the adoption of the Integrated Coastal management Act (ICMA), adopt a Municipal coastal management plan. This plan must be reviewed every 5 years and may when necessary be changed or amended.

Section 49 of the ICMA (Integrated Coastal Management Act) specifies the content and structure of a coastal management programme.

There are some special requirements that need dedicated and sincere efforts on our part (Mtubatuba Municipality and all residents) to ensure that our many local communities various needs are addressed. These considerations will include but are not limited to ensuring that our various interest groups and local communities social needs and environmental requirements are brought to the attention of

1. the national coastal management committee
2. the provincial coastal management committee
3. the IWPA coastal management committee
4. The Umkhanyakude district Municipality’s Coastal Management Committee
5. The Environmental Management committee established by the NEMA (National Environmental Management Act)
6. The minister of Environmental affairs
7. Other Ministers which have jurisdiction over any part of our local economy and / or social environment
8. Other forums and / or social structures that will assist the ARBU (Association of Recreational Beach Users) to achieve our purpose, aims and objectives.

This is vitally important for us as a municipality because history has shown us that these proposed and mandated structures and their predecessors have ignored our problems in the past, and treated us within the Umkhanyakude district Municipality, and Mtubatuba in particular like a bunch of grade 1 school children, ignoring all our pleadings about the lost economic opportunities and the many jobs shed within the local tourism industry due to the knock on effects of ROD A /25/8/7/3/2/4/ including the impacts of subsequent alterations to this said ROD which mandated the IWPA to enforce the so called 4×4 ban.

If The Mtubatuba Municipality does not have a Coastal Management Committee in place we have no chance of having our voice heard in the correct forums where our issues are discussed.

With no voice we will never be heard.

The following documents all discuss these issues and inform the reader of economic losses associated with ROD A /25/8/7/3/2/4/ and subsequent amendments.
1. Occasional paper 20 issued by KZN Tourism
2. SEED(Social, Environmental , Economic and Development) report
3. Tourism Report

As the Mtubatuba Town council is well aware, we (ARBU) have been trying to get the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) to discuss these issues and related reports which the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) has been mandated to create on an annual basis at the Mtubatuba IDP PRF (Integrated Development Plan Public Representatives Forum).

This has not taken place due to political tactics and poor public participation procedures of the IWPA. The IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) is a state entity established in terms of the world heritage convention act, and their mandate is to look after the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park World Heritage site, which has been renamed as iSimangaliso wetland Park.

The NEMA (National environmental Management Act) states in chapter 1 section 2 (2) that Environmental management must place people and their needs at the forefront of its concern, and serve their physical, psychological, developmental, cultural and social interests equitably.

The NEMA further states in section 2 (3) that development must be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.

History has shown us that the above 2 mandated points of view have not been put into practice and neither have they been considered by the Minister of environmental Affairs and his subordinates in terms of ROD A / 25 / 7 / 8 / 3 / 2 / 4 and its long term impact on the Mtubatuba local municipality’s economy and the serious economic losses within the Elephant Coast tourism industry.

It is thus imperative that the Mtubatuba Municipality establish a coastal management forum and a coastal management committee which will enable the Mtubatuba Municipality to fulfill it’s mandates in terms of
1 the ICMA (integrated Coastal Management Act),
2 the NEMA (National Environmental management Act)
3 the MSA (Municipal Systems Act)
4 the South African Constitution

This Coastal management committee and related forums will give the Mtubatuba Municipality’s residents a voice in the right forums, where our socio – economic issues can be highlighted and addressed in a manner that best suits all citizens of South Africa.

Advertisements

ARBU institutes procedings to establish a local municipal coastal committee

The Association of Recreational beach users has began the procedings to institute a local municipality coastal management committee as is required by the ICMA (Integrated CoastalManagement Act)

We have written a letter to the mayor of Mtubatuba Municipality requesting a meeting to discuss the setting up of this committee as soon as is practicaly possible so that we may proceed to establish the Mtubatuba local Municipality coastal management Committee.

If the Mtubatuba Municipalty does not have a Coastal management plan in place then one will be provided for us in which we will have no input or influence. If we have a committee in place the Act mandates

    the Minister,
    the MEC
    The IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority)
    The national coastalanagement committee
    the provincial coastal managemenyt committee

to consult with the local municipality coastal committee on any matters effecting their coastal management plan.

This will alow us as the Association of recreational beach users to have some influence in the matters affecting our members and the potential tourism impacts which any changes to the mtubatuba municipal coastal management plan which may be forecd upon us by the higher levels of the coastal management system envisaged by the ICMA

Beach Access Forum

The management of uMhlatuze local municipality and the uThungulu District Municipality have picked up that beach access is a problem within the local and domestic tourism market, and are working on ways to address the issue.

This is good news for all those who would like to access our beaches along the KZN Coast line but find it too dangerous because of the long distance one walks from your vehicle.

This has lead to the formation of a forum to discuss these issues and make recomendations. The beach Access Forum held their second meeting on Monday 22 June 2009 in Richards bay.

The second meerting of the Beach access forum (BAF) was rather fruitfull from my perspective, as those present were all committed and willing to put an effort in to make this formum successful.

I attended this meeting as the CEO of Info4u CC and not as a representive or spokes person for the Association of Recreational Beach Users (ARBU), and the next meeting to be held on Monday 6 July will see a few more faces, including a spokes person for the Association of Recreational Beach users (ARBU)

This space has been idle for some time now, but I feel we will soon liven this up with the actions being taken by the delegates to the BAF (Beach Access Forum)

more comming soon !

iSimangaliso wetland Park IMP

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority is busy with their IMP (integrated management Plan) review for 2009.

Part of this process is surposed to include meaningful public participation, and the open day held at Hluhluwe on Friday 23 January 2009 (23/01/09) was interesting, but does not qualify as meaningful public participation. This meaningful public participation is required according to the regulations associated with the world heritage act, act 49 of 1999, and the NEMA as well as other related legislation.

We arrived at the HluHluwe Protea Hotel expecting to attend a meeting but got a surprise as it was an open day with a show and tell team who were not as well rehearsed in all matters as they should have been. Unfortunately I got rather upset and lost the plot.

I was actualy so upset about some issues, and the lack of depth that the consultants showed that I began to shake. Fortunately I had some friends at this show, and they managed to calm me down, so that I could speak to some of the consultants and ask some questions which need to be addressed, without shouting and behaving like a lunatic.

The issue of tourism associated with the recreational beach users is not in their plan, and the fact that the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) wish to extend the marine protected area, and apply new limitations on resource extraction methods needs to be evaluated properly to ensure that it does not have a huge negative impact on tourism, like the closure of the recreational use areas of the Elephant Coast did.

The studies done back in 2002 by the same consultants Acer Africa need to be revisited, and questions asked as to the wetlands Park Authority’s response to these reports, and their inclusion in the EIA (Environmntal Impact Assesment).

The IWPA IMP Consultants need to be invited to the Mtubatuba IDP and they need to describe and implement the methodology that will be used to integrate the Mtubatuba IDP and the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) IMP (integrated Management Plan) so that they (the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) may comply with the world heritage Act (Act 49 of 1999) in terms of chapter iv section 22 in its entireity.

The Association of recreational beach users will need to do a lot of negotiating and arrange a huge ammount of pressure on the iSimangaliso Wetland Park to ensure the law is followed, and that the economic losses associated with the absence of the recreational beach users from the Elephant Coast recreational use areas is considered.

The figures are huge, with at least 200 000 overnight visits to the park, and about 400 000 day visits being lost due to the closure of recreational use areas to motor vehicle access.

If you want to help us visit http://groups.google.com/group/arbu and register as a supporter. it is free and we will appreciate your moral support.

Help need at public meetings

The IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) are busy with their IMP (Integrated Management Plan) and your presence at the public participation meetings will be included.

If you can be there please attend.

If you cant be there your self, perhaps you can convince a friend to be their. If we do not get enough people at these public meetings then our point of view will not be included in the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) IMP (Integrated Management Plan)

We need to get the 4×4 ban issue addressed at these public participation meetings. If there are not enough numbers at these meetings then our point will not b e taken seriously.

The Integrated Management Plan (IMP) is a tool that is used to develop and manage iSimangaliso. It is the framework for decision making over the next 5 years, and has been drafted in terms of the World Heritage Convention Act 1999 (Act No.49 of 1999) and National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act 57 of 2003). The IMP also meets the requirements of other legislation, such as the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act 18 of 1998).

The IMP sets out to integrate conservation, tourism development, and the local economic development of historically disadvantaged communities in and adjacent to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

The IMP provides the integrated management tools for iSimangaliso, including:

* Spatial planning measures, including zonation, activities plans and nodal frameworks, the intended proclamation of the entire coast off iSimangaliso a Marine Protected Area.
* A five year implementation programme.
* General planning measures and controls.

The IMP is available for your review and comment for the period from the 24 December 2008 until 18 February 2009. Holiday makers to the Park over the festive season will have an opportunity to review the Plan, making the IMP available for comment for an extended period of 8 weeks.

Hard and electronic copies of the Integrated Management Plan will be available at the venues below:

KWAZULU NATAL
Durban Central Public Library
Durban North Public Library
Mkuze – Ghost Mountain Inn
Hluhluwe Public Library
Jozini Public Library
Manguzi Public Library
Mbazwana Education Centre and Library
Mtubatuba Public Library
Mtunzini – ACER (Africa) Offices
Richards Bay Public Library
St Lucia Public Library

GAUTENG
Bryanston Public Library
Rosebank Public Library
Blackheath Public Library
Johannesburg Public Library
Pretoria Public Library

MPUMALANGA
Nelspruit Public Library

WESTERN CAPE
Cape Town Public Library

iSIMANGALISO WETLAND PARK
St Lucia Crocodile Centre
uMkhuze – Mantuma Reception
Sodwana Bay – Camp Reception
Kosi Bay – Camp Reception

The Draft IMP is also available on ACER Africa’s website: http://www.acerafrica.co.za under the “iSimangaliso IMP” link.

At the end of January 2009, Open Days will be held to provide an opportunity for the public to discuss the content of the IMP.

KWAZULU-NATAL
23 January 2009 – Protea Hotel Hluhluwe – 09h00 to 13h00
27 Janaury 2009 – Durban Botanical Gardens – 15h00 to 19h00

GAUTENG
28 January 2009 – Protea Hotel Midrand – 15h00 to 19h00

Comments can be submitted in one of the following ways:
By mail: ACER (Africa) Environmental Management Consultants
IMP Consultation Public Participation Office,
PO Box 503,
Mtunzini, 3867
By fax: 035 – 340 2232
By email: IMP@acerafrica.co.za

The comment period commences on Wednesday, 24 December 2008 and ends at the close of business on Wednesday, 18th February 2009. Please make sure that ACER has received your comments.

All those with an interest in iSimangaliso Wetland Park are encouraged to review the draft IMP, attend Open Days and/or submit written comment. Comments received will be considered in the finalisation of the IMP.

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact the Public Participation Office.

iSIMANGALISO WETLAND PARK
DRAFT INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT PLAN – PUBLIC CONSULTATION PROCESS
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION OFFICE DETAILS

Ms Bongi Shinga or June Mottram
ACER (Africa) Environmental Management Consultants
P O Box 503, Mtunzini, 3867
Tel: 035 340 2715
Fax: 035 340 2232
E-mail: IMP@acerafrica.co.za

REVIEW PERIOD: 24 December 2008 – 18 February 2009

For more information email roland@iSimangaliso.com

iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority plans missing ?

On Wednesday 3 December 2008 the Mtubatuba IDP (Integrated Development Plan) held a meeting of the Public Representatives Forum as part of their public participation process in the development of their IDP.

The subject of the IWPA iSimangaliso Wetland Park and integration of their IMP (Integrated Management Plan) came up, where the facilitator said that she had been trying for more than 6 years to acquire a copy of their IMP.

I have also personally been on the hunt for this plan, as I want to know what the IWPA is doing about the significant losses suffered when the recreational beach users along the Elephant Coast simply stopped coming to the Elephant Coast.

I am tired of being Mr. Nice Guy and so requested that the PRF (Public Representatives Forum) request that the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) produce a copy of their Integrated Management Plan (IMP) or face the music.

The forum then took a resolution to request that the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) produce their plan within 14 Days. This is a start, and we will keep up the pressure.

It must be remembered that the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) is the Successor of GSLWPA (Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park Authority) and as such is liable for not implementing policies as per instructions of the world heritage Act clauses 21, 22, 23 and 24

IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) is the new name for GSLWPA (Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park Authority) and the name change was quite a serious affair, as this name change affects UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) which is the world body in control of world heritage sites and their marketing to the public.

Read more –

4X4 Ban and the Elephant Coast economy

The closure of all beaches along the South african Coast line to motor vehicle trafic has had some very nasty side effects, and caused many business along the entire South African Coastline to suffer incredible losses due to the absence of the recreational beach users from the local economies of coastal tourism destinations.

I will be writing about the Elephant Coast region, which is where I live and play, and others will be writing about their areas. I stopped writing about this problem, of lost economic opportunities caused by the 4X4 ban along the Elephant Coast of KZN South Africa  for a while due to political pressure, but have since come to realise that this was a smoke screen, and that these politiicians really had a loud voice, but were unable to really do to much harm to my personal well being.

Since our President, Thabo Mbehki was fired for allegedly not following party policy, I have come to realise that we can make this thing of lost jobs and other economic opportunities into an important political issue, and use it during the electioneering campain that will be coming up to force all political parties to assist in fixing the problem, or loose votes.

This will be a brave step, and require many people to actively participate in highlighting their personal losses, and businesses highlighting their business stats and difficulties that they have had when asking their local municipality and other large role players such as DEAT (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism) IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetand Park Authority) and Umkhanyakude District Municipality for assistance with the substantial economic losses incurred when domestic tourism along the Elephant Coast collapsed due to the knock on effects of the so called 4×4 ban, or the closure of our beaches to motor vehicle traffic in terms of the NEMA (National Environmental Management Plan) and subsequent legislation.

I will be using this platform to launch an association called the Association of Recreational beach users, which will eventually become a NON profit based organistaion looking after the interests of all recreational beach users. I tried this before, but from a different perspective, and due to the lack of financial assistance failed miserably.

Many people know that I am passionate about opposing the 4×4 Ban and that I want this legislation looked at and revised to make it more people friendly and less restrictive on our local tourism industry.  A large number of these people still want access to the Coastal recreational resources along the Elephant Coast, and in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, with many asking me what’s going on, as I talk about this issue excessively, and they feel I am an AUTHORITY on the 4×4 ban.

This Blog will be used as base from which many other activities will be launched, in conjunction with many other online promotional and social networking structures.  I will be linking to previous writings and placing my correspondence with others  online at various locations. I will  be soliciting help from every conceivable corner then a few others as well, to ensure that the 4×4 ban, or the closure of our coastal recreational beach use areas to motor vehicle traffic gets the political attention that it needs to fix our very serious economic crisis caused bt the absence of the domestic tourist to the many Elephant Coast tourism destinations inclusing but not limited to

  • Lake St. Lucia
  • St. Lucia Estuary
  • Cape Vidal
  • Mapelane
  • Sodwana Bay
  • Cape St. Lucia Light house
  • Richards bay Beaches

Please book mark this space and come back within a week mor 2 and see my progress.

If you have any ideas on how to go about this public awareness and political campain please write a comment, and we will try to use your idea in our thinking.

Do not be afraid!!!!!!!

voice your opinion and help us to solve this social problem, that has cost the Elephant Coast BILLIONS OF RANDS IN LOST TOURISM INCOME.