Elephant Coast Domestic tourism and beach access

Continue reading

Advertisements

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.

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

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.