Thembelihle Municipality / SA Department of Agriculture
South Africa

The Thembelihle Municipality (Hopetown) in the Northern Cape in South Africa is set to destroy a natural forest of approximately 3500 endangered Grey Camel Thorn Trees (the furthest south and east of its kind in the country) and replace it with a proposed irrigational development for developing farmers.

Previous government projects for developing farmers on at least three farms in the Thembelihle Municipal area (Strydenburg) are a complete failure, with land and developments thereon lying waste, unused and deserted for several years, since the projects were initiated.

While we are not against the project as such, we object to the choice of location and proposed destruction of this sensitive ecosystem, and are of the opinion that alternative agricultural sites such as undeveloped municipal land as well as existing irrigation farms can provide equally or better in this need, with a far lesser environmental impact.

In addition, the demands on water resources are becoming increasingly great and more so in the very arid Upper Karoo region where this project is planned.

Although environmental protection is enshrined in legislation, recent history has taught us that despite legally required processes of environmental impact assessments and inputs / objections by the local community and interested parties, such objections are often studiously ignored. Often projects appear to be politically driven while ignoring the facts and/or the long term implications on the environment. This seems again to be the case when a senior Thembelihle municipal official recently adamantly remarked that this project will continue, irrespective of objections raised.

We are in the process of lobbying various local and international environmental organisations as well as the public, which will be used to support our objection against the destruction of this ecosystem. Should you wish to join us in objecting to the destruction of the Camel Tree Forest, kindly contact the agency tasked to do the Environmental Impact Assessment. They are: REDCO and the contact person is Marius Marais (E-Mail address: marius@redcoservices.com).

Please paste the following link into your browser to view our facebook site on this issue for more information/photos and kindly support our cause to protect the environment by signing this petition: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hopetown/Save-our -camel-thorns/76218200906?v=box_3&viewas=787036868

We, the undersigned, not being opposed to the nature of the development, but to the location thereof, call on the Thembelihle Municipality and the SA Department of Water Affairs and Forestry to:

1. Consider the long term environmental impact of a development on this location by honouring the SA Constitution and environmental protection measures enshrined in legislation to protect this sensitive ecosystem containing endangered species of Grey Camel Thorn Trees.

2. Implement the recommendations of the Environmental Impact Assessment agency (REDCO).

3. Head and act upon public opinion, objections and concerns to the proposed development.

4. Consider alternative locations which offer a lesser environmental impact.

5. Discontinue the planned development of the irrigation scheme on the current selected location and ensure the protection of the endangered Camel Thorn Trees.

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The Save Our Endangered Camel Thorn Trees petition to Thembelihle Municipality / SA Department of Agriculture was written by camelthorns and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.