The Changing Face of Kruger - Carte Blanche - Mon Mar 12th

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The Changing Face of Kruger - Carte Blanche - Mon Mar 12th

Post by Flutterby » Mon May 21, 2012 2:06 pm

Herewith a transcript of last night's show:
The Changing Face of the Kruger Park
Date: 11 March 2012 07:00
Producer: Angus Begg
Presenter: Chantal Rutter Dros
Show: Carte Blanche

To the casual observer today - the most serious threat to the Kruger National Park would likely be the assault on its rhinos. But a former park warden says the real danger lies in the Park's immediate future:

Dr Salomon Joubert (Former Kruger Park warden): "National parks are there for their scientific, for their spiritual and educational values. They are not here as resorts."

A biologist with 30 years' work experience in the Park, Dr Salomon Joubert is fighting the Kruger's commercialisation. The looming hotel developments inside its boundaries have him worried.

Dr Joubert: "It's a dramatic deviation from national park philosophy."

It's 86 years since the Kruger was proclaimed as a National Park - a haven for wildlife then being shot out by hunters.

Chantal Rutter Dros (Carte Blanche presenter): "The South African National Parks have long been associated with pristine bush and the preservation of the country's natural heritage, but it seems that's all about to change."

For many, the Kruger Park has always been about memory and atmosphere. But for others it's a relatively new experience.

Faith Dlamini (Mjejane River Lodge): "Most of our older people don't even know what a rhino looks like, but now we're very much excited to visit the Park."

Faith Dlamini speaks for a community that today owns a lodge with direct access to the Park via a bridge across the Crocodile River. It's the result of a successful land claim - and has given local people meaningful work:

Faith: "Most of our kids didn't even want to do tourism because they didn't know what it was to do with the black community. Tourism... we only knew it for tourists who were coming from abroad."

Dr Joubert isn't concerned about places like Mjejane - as it's a contract park and outside the Kruger proper. His focus is the planned Radisson Blu hotel - just inside the Malelane gate - and with links to Tokyo Sexwale's Mvelaphanda Holdings. He says the implications for local businesses could be serious.

This hotel [Pestana Kruger Lodge] looks across the Crocodile River into the Park - which is its main draw card. Yet a park 'n ride facility for the envisaged development is planned on the opposite bank. Dr Joubert says park authorities have gone too far.

Dr Joubert: "SANParks have exceeded their mandate in taking this strategic decision to go this way; they have not consulted in any way."


SANParks Chief Executive, Dr David Mabunda, has spoken out about 'old school conservationists', in apparent reference to Dr Joubert. But he referred us to consultant and former SANParks board member, Professor Willem van Riet, who thinks it's a storm in a teacup.

Prof Willem van Riet (Environmental consultant): "I don't see any huge impact; I don't actually understand why this [big issue] is going on over this smallest lodge development right on the southern boundary in one of the most disturbed valleys in the whole of Kruger."

Joubert says the fuss is not about just one hotel. He says the planned Malelane and Skukuza hotels will add 480 beds to the park.

Dr Joubert: "Other than Skukuza, that exceeds the number of beds in any of the other rest camps."

Joubert's point is that the southern Kruger is just too busy - a point supported by a survey on the carrying capacity of the Park carried out by UNISA 13 years ago already:

Dr Joubert: "If you find a pride of lions, in no time there are 40...50 motorcars around there. And that takes away the pleasure of the wilderness."

Game Lodge owner Sally Kernick makes her living from tourists who come to experience the Kruger's wild outdoors. While she and Salomon Joubert differ when it comes to the commercial development of the Park - they both claim that SANParks failed to keep the public informed.

Chantal: "Did SANParks ever tell you what their plans were?"

Sally Kernick (Concession lodge owner): "Not one word... I only knew about it when I read about it in the travel news when Radisson put out a press release."

Kernick is part-owner of the nearest private establishment inside the park to Malelane Gate - with an average occupancy of only 40%. She says the planned hotel's 24hr access, while her guests have to comply with a gate-closing time of 6pm ,will further reduce her numbers.

Sally: "It takes a long time to build a reputation. We were coming right, we're getting our occupancies. We were fine with the World Cup, then the recession hit us and then to be hit with this on top is a double whammy."

Between the lodge owner and the conservationist is citizen Gerhard Smit. He first visited the Kruger in the 1950s and has been over one hundred times since. When he heard of the planned luxury hotel development he became an activist, starting a Facebook pressure group called AIKONA.

Gerhard Smit (Activist): "I realised there was little public participation and very few people informed about this. In December of 2010 I submitted my personal objection."

Chantal: "Gerhard, why were you concerned?"

Gerhard: "The Kruger National Park is not a holiday resort, it's a nature reserve, it's a conserve area which should be a haven for fauna and flora. When we listen we hear birds chirping and I would like my great-grandchildren to also experience that one day."


As he is speaking for SANParks on this Malelane hotel development, we asked Van Riet whether stakeholders had been consulted:

Prof Van Riet: "By the time I was asked to review, this whole [issue] had already started, so I can't really say... to me it appeared as it had happened over quite a long period of time."

Rather than the subject of consultation, Van Riet seems more focused on the fact that the Kruger Park today is a very different place from thirty years ago. He says SANParks feels that new tourist markets don't appreciate the traditional park offering.

Prof Van Riet: "There's three broad tourism groups: the standard people who always come like they have come in the past; the international visitors who make up 25%; and then the emerging group of people - people asking for facilities that we have not identified as what they would need."

While evidence of this need was not produced, the operation of this hotel will nevertheless be revolutionary for the Kruger. Beyond the 24-hour access will be a park-and-drive facility and activities not normally associated with a national park.

Prof Van Riet: "If you take the old Skukuza, and after 7.30pm there was nothing for people to do. A lot of the activities envisaged inside this new development would be things you could do after that... restaurant or the bar."

Salmon Joubert disagrees with SANParks thinking that the emerging black market doesn't appreciate the Kruger Park for what it is - he says research shows otherwise.

Dr Joubert: "SANParks itself says that in '94 only 4% were people of colour - black people - now its up to 26%... that's a 600% increase; that should be encouragement itself."

While talking figures, lingering in the background is the subject of finances. In a presentation to Parliament last year, SANParks indicated a reliance on donors.

Prof Van Riet: "The Kruger park is one of the most unique national parks on the globe because it actually gets 85% of its funding from its own sources."

So SANParks sees in this hotel a further revenue stream - estimating that it will get R800 000 from this Malelane development in its first year of operation. Gerhard Smit says the inclusion of the proposed hotel in this official document shows it will go ahead regardless. And he's come across another document that concerns him.

Gerhard: "I am in possession of a document indicating SANParks plans for a PDZ - periphery development zone - 2km wide inside the Park."

Which is not public knowledge and would likely mean much more development. Van Riet says he is unaware of the plan. But he says new transport routes, soon to be established around the Kruger, will have an obvious impact on the Park:

Prof Van Riet: "I think we need to rezone Kruger or review Kruger. These three big access routes, the one form the south to Maputo, the one going through the middle to Massingir Dam, or the route through Pafuri when they build a bridge across the Limpopo... All of those three through-roads will attract development."

Kruger project without much controversy - is Faith Dlamini's successful land claim - downriver from the proposed Malelane hotel. In this case 4000 hectares have been added to the park - and a peoples' dignity restored:

Faith: "Very much happy, very proud. And I'm sitting here and you see it is beautiful - it used to be bush. Now I can't believe it - it's from our own community from our own hands."

It seems as if the wilderness itself has been forgotten in this Kruger development debate. With five million people and construction and agriculture encroaching on the Park - SANParks has a huge task ahead of it.

Chantal: "It seems the solution to this is to find a balance between conservation and development."

Prof Van Riet: "Conserving the environment is the most important thing on Earth, because we're actually dependent on the life-supporting processes that keeps us all alive."

Faith: "Its important to treasure what your forefathers have kept for you and to allow other people with new ideas to come and teach you how to take care of your treasure."

Dr Joubert: "Even on my days of pension now there's probably not a day that I don't long for this place here."

Whether old guard or new blood, concern for our environment is one area in which South Africans have to find common ground. The Kruger Park is our heritage - and it can't be replicated.

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Re: The Changing Face of Kruger - Carte Blanche - Mon Mar 12

Post by Lisbeth » Mon May 21, 2012 2:07 pm

Lisbeth wrote:To little talk about the implications of the hotel: Construction work, roads, animals and fauna. There was only a short mentioning by Dr. Joubert on the traffic jams.
Flutterby wrote:Exactly Lis! :roll:
lowveldboy wrote:Didn't expect anything else. Very safe and middle of the road, butt .....

Raised awareness!!!!! Very important.
Lisbeth wrote:
Prof Van Riet: "If you take the old Skukuza, and after 7.30pm there was nothing for people to do. A lot of the activities envisaged inside this new development would be things you could do after that... restaurant or the bar."
Or Caraoke :twisted:

Since when do people need something like that in Kruger. What a ridiculous thing to say :evil:
Flutterby wrote:I know!!! If you visit Kruger to experience nature, you've probably been up since 4am and by 7.30 you're almost ready for bed!!! :lol: :roll:
Richprins wrote:
"These three big access routes, the one form the south to Maputo, the one going through the middle to Massingir Dam, or the route through Pafuri when they build a bridge across the Limpopo... All of those three through-roads will attract development."
I fail to see why the Professor has to yack about those factors, although it is vitally revealing and concerning!

The Maputo Corridor was never mentioned as a reason for the Malelane hotel, which is Van Riet's only mandate at the moment.

This bodes ill for Pafuri, and probably has some bearing on why the independent TEBA Pafuri has been taken over and will be in Sanparks' hands at the end of the month.
Flutterby wrote:Also picked up on that RP....let's hope this doesn't mean more development!!! :?
Poplap wrote:
Lisbeth wrote:
Prof Van Riet: "If you take the old Skukuza, and after 7.30pm there was nothing for people to do. A lot of the activities envisaged inside this new development would be things you could do after that... restaurant or the bar."
Or Caraoke :twisted:

Since when do people need something like that in Kruger. What a ridiculous thing to say :evil:
Since when is there no hotels (concessions), restaurants and bars in Kruger? O/ O/ O/ He clearly doesn't visit Kruger often. There is a restaurant and bar at all the big camps. And of course, at the existing hotels. O/ O/ O/ O/

And yes, his side of the story were full of bad omen. Full of it. Pafuri, here they come!! :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

"Groot bohaai about nothing, Dr van Riet? Say what??!! You've clearly lost the conservation plot!
iNdlovu wrote:Remember who's paying him and his company for the environmental assessment.
Mel wrote:Can't add anything that hasn't said before...

No cause for jubilations, methinks and the sidemarks
are serious reasons to be concerned regarding more development...

I'll wear my new t-shirt in Addo. :evil:
Richprins wrote:The Pafuri Highway will take many years, fortunately, and if anyone has any sense, should be strictly confined to exiting at Pafuri gate...lots of room for development along that corridor!

Hopefully a straighter route to Polokwane from there, OUTSIDE the Park...road-building and job creation! \O
wbritz wrote:Now this is really starting to P....S me of, we have all this struggling issues about poor service delivery, crime, corruption etc. We put people in power to look after the well being of this country, and yet what are they doing...NOTHING...and then like we are...we the people must assist with everything...ant that what they get paid for...it's there job. I's sad that money is more important then human right, and not to say animal well fear.

Instead of them wasting there time and money on new developments...they should think of the protecting of the rhino...as i see it...the only people fighting is us.

If you really want 5star treatment in the KNP...you don't belong there, i can book you in at a couple of good places in Sandton. What more do you want after 7:30 then a couple of friends around a bomb fire with a glass of wine...and listen to the most beautiful sound nature can offer! For me this is nothing more then just some one that wants to make a lot of money with a development.

For every brick they lay...i will brake them down.
Jaclyn wrote:I asked Do you believe that we will or are making a difference??

I have no doubt you are but wondering if those "higher" up ever bother to read about what we the public feel??
Toko wrote:
Jaclyn wrote:I asked Do you believe that we will or are making a difference??

I have no doubt you are but wondering if those "higher" up ever bother to read about what we the public feel??
Image Hi Jaclyn

We can seek to raise public awareness broadly on environmental issues and provide a place to think and discuss about for example what a national park should be for.

According to current legal rules all over the world as well as the IUCN guidelines, national parks are responsible for nature protection and for
recreational objectives. As these are in essence conflicting objectives, the national park should allow only recreational activities which protect nature and these activities (and the facilities you need) may not adversely affect the protective purpose of the national park. The compatibility of recreational activities with nature should be measured primarily against effects on the ecosystem, in particular the animal and plant world (not on effects of the expected income for SANPARKs).
As there are hardly any areas left all over the world with unspoilt nature, the aim of a National Park is therefore to create opportunities to
experience unspoilt nature or wilderness. As the alienation from nature takes hold in the large conurbations and industrial centres, so the need for untouched nature grows.
With visitor facilities such as hotels with night life and entertainment facilities, conference centres, big events within the parks and so on a National Park for sure can not to meet this need for wilderness experience.
Geza wrote:Well said Toko.

And since our appointed custodians of SANPARKS seem to have forgotten this salient fact, I guess it becomes our responsibility and duty to keep reminding them until such time as they hear us.

One of the issues at stake here is that Dr Mabunda believes he has the support of the masses who live adjacent to the Kruger and other national parks. Since they are not well educated, and most likely living below the breadline, it was probably easy to convince them thet building the hotels would be the magic bullet cure to all their ailments, creating instant wealth and employment for all. (This is merely my conclusion)

By the time they realise they have been duped, Dr Mabunda with his kickbacks and instant wealth will probably be long gone leaving them in pretty much the same state they live in today. There is the most likely probability that KNP may by then be in ruins anyway making their plight all the worse.

I for one am happy that I do not have to find this balance between conservation and touriism income, but I just wish there was more openness and honesty from SANPARKS regarding this whole affair.

Who knows, maybe in 10 years time, all of us doomsayers may well be proven wrong.

I seriously doubt this though and my antagonisim and distrust of SANPARKS and their motives springs from their not playing the game by the rules.

There was a news item I read somewhere and foolishly, I neglected to save it for future reference, but it went along the lines of us being labeled (once again) by one of SANPARKS employees as being outdated dinosaurs standing in the way of greatness and progress. THe one thing I do remember was that the lady in question said what are we so hit up about a "mere 240 beds" for?

Why indeed? Perhaps recapping is not a bad thing. Firstly the EIA process has been flawed or not representative of an unbiased EIA.

There are concerns for the siting of the Melelane hotel due to it interfering with the breeding site of the Pels fishing owls.

There are concerns for an increased human footprint in an already overcrowded part of the reserve which may seriously impact on the fauna and flora of the area.

So in keeping with your post, I absolutely agree that this process should be done correctly, that an independent and fair EIA be done and that all parties agree with the outcome whatever it may be. Perhaps then the good doctor might have met with allies instead of enemies.

As I feel insulted by his comments in the press and other media, he is now my declared enemy and I intend to fight this to the end. In the words of a great historical statesman, "we shall NEVER surrender."

In line with this fight, I think that CB have helped raise awareness to this and despite a "watered down" version of wht we anticipated, it has done us more good than harm. (Well, that is my feeling about it anyway.)

There are many issues I haven't touched on but those are the important ones for me, or at least the ones I recall at this moment.

Let us unite in this common goal and fight the good fight, together. \O
Richprins wrote:
BunnyHugger wrote:
One of the issues at stake here is that Dr Mabunda believes he has the support of the masses who live adjacent to the Kruger and other national parks. Since they are not well educated, and most likely living below the breadline, it was probably easy to convince them thet building the hotels would be the magic bullet cure to all their ailments, creating instant wealth and employment for all.
BH, agreed!

But the above is a highly overrated scenario created by Sanparks to boost their media image years after the Malelane and Skukuza hotels were approved, literally!

There was even a highly contrived letter to our local paper pleading for the Minister to look after the neighbours regarding this matter.

In actual fact, in my experience, the neighbouring communities are perfectly aware of the value Kruger brings to their regional and personal livelihoods, and the entire subject is a red herring!

Kruger has been a profitable neighbour for these communities over many generations...and that includes ALL races.

Sanparks themselves admit to a regional income of around R2 billion per year for the Lowveld as a result of Kruger, although it is virtuallly impossible to calculate...Groovy and I have tried a small sample for Hazyview alone, and it is very difficult, but very big!
Geza wrote:
Rich, this is open to interpretation by one with a faulty brain, notably my own. I am not sure how exacty to interpret this but here is a summaton.

This hotel issue is then nothing more than a well disguised effort on the part of the CEO to make some money for personal gain at the expense of the Nature reserve while furthering his political aspirations. In point of fact, the impact will most likely be a big white elephant that the tax payer will bear the burden of because they will not be sutainable when the intended market find out that listening to the sounds of nature is not all it was made out to be. They will then go back to the big noise and lights entertanment of the cities from whence they come.

And while building these hotels it is highly likely that due to biased EIA reports, that the reserve will suffer irreparable damage.

I further interpret all this information to mean that because this is how we interpret this information that we are upstarts, dinosaurs and racists to boot. Or is that because we do not accept his word that building the hotels will do no more hram to Kruger (and all the other reserves) than a person drinking a glass of purified water? :?

I find this all a bit difficult to swallow myself.

And then when Kruger is gone, what are the locals going to do to survive?
Richprins wrote:No, the community issue suddenly became a herring once opposition to the hotels began...simple politics.


The CEO does not make money, as far as I know, directly.


A simple analogy, to respond to Jaclyn too, is that the high-income Kruger lodges/concessions targeting rich tourists whether foreign or not, are mostly struggling, with one opting out! This is also plain economics, and was already a threat well known by Sanparks when approval was given for the two hotels...

But the deal had been signed. Reasons for approval of said hotels have since included attraction of local government workers, "black diamonds" from across the country, specifically Gauteng, providing jobs, and even a reference to the "new revolution in North African Muslim countries"...I kid you not! (How Sanparks predicted the Muslim uprisings in 2008 already remains a mystery!)
Richprins wrote:No, the community issue suddenly became a herring once opposition to the hotels began...simple politics.


The CEO does not make money, as far as I know, directly.


A simple analogy, to respond to Jaclyn too, is that the high-income Kruger lodges/concessions targeting rich tourists whether foreign or not, are mostly struggling, with one opting out! This is also plain economics, and was already a threat well known by Sanparks when approval was given for the two hotels...

But the deal had been signed. Reasons for approval of said hotels have since included attraction of local government workers, "black diamonds" from across the country, specifically Gauteng, providing jobs, and even a reference to the "new revolution in North African Muslim countries"...I kid you not! (How Sanparks predicted the Muslim uprisings in 2008 already remains a mystery!)
Poplap wrote:Some valid points made by all concerned.

Toko wrote:
Jaclyn wrote:I asked Do you believe that we will or are making a difference??

I have no doubt you are but wondering if those "higher" up ever bother to read about what we the public feel??
Image Hi Jaclyn

We can seek to raise public awareness broadly on environmental issues and provide a place to think and discuss about for example what a national park should be for.

According to current legal rules all over the world as well as the IUCN guidelines, national parks are responsible for nature protection and for recreational objectives. As these are in essence conflicting objectives, the national park should allow only recreational activities which protect nature and these activities (and the facilities you need) may not adversely affect the protective purpose of the national park.

The compatibility of recreational activities with nature should be measured primarily against effects on the ecosystem, in particular the animal and plant world (not on effects of the expected income for SANPARKs).

As there are hardly any areas left all over the world with unspoilt nature, the aim of a National Park is therefore to create opportunities to experience unspoilt nature or wilderness. As the alienation from nature takes hold in the large conurbations and industrial centres, so the need for untouched nature grows.

With visitor facilities such as hotels with night life and entertainment facilities, conference centres, big events within the parks and so on a National Park for sure can not to meet this need for wilderness experience.
\O \O \O , Toko. My point exactly (my bold).

RP, you mean to say some of the KNP Management is clairvoyant? :shock: :? :evil: Signed, yes, legally so, NO!
ceruleanwildfire wrote:
Poplap wrote:Link to the CB footage: http://beta.mnet.co.za/carteblanche/Art ... 6&ShowId=1

I see our go-greeny, CWF, has left a comment.
I'm hoping that the more comments we leave on their site the more appetite they will have to pursue this further. Please post you questions on their site and comment on how you feel (This appeal applies to everyone not just Poplap). \O

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Re: The Changing Face of Kruger - Carte Blanche - Mon Mar 12

Post by Lisbeth » Mon May 21, 2012 2:08 pm

Lisbeth wrote:To little talk about the implications of the hotel: Construction work, roads, animals and fauna. There was only a short mentioning by Dr. Joubert on the traffic jams.
Flutterby wrote:Exactly Lis! :roll:
lowveldboy wrote:Didn't expect anything else. Very safe and middle of the road, butt .....

Raised awareness!!!!! Very important.
Lisbeth wrote:
Prof Van Riet: "If you take the old Skukuza, and after 7.30pm there was nothing for people to do. A lot of the activities envisaged inside this new development would be things you could do after that... restaurant or the bar."
Or Caraoke :twisted:

Since when do people need something like that in Kruger. What a ridiculous thing to say :evil:
Flutterby wrote:I know!!! If you visit Kruger to experience nature, you've probably been up since 4am and by 7.30 you're almost ready for bed!!! :lol: :roll:
Richprins wrote:
"These three big access routes, the one form the south to Maputo, the one going through the middle to Massingir Dam, or the route through Pafuri when they build a bridge across the Limpopo... All of those three through-roads will attract development."
I fail to see why the Professor has to yack about those factors, although it is vitally revealing and concerning!

The Maputo Corridor was never mentioned as a reason for the Malelane hotel, which is Van Riet's only mandate at the moment.

This bodes ill for Pafuri, and probably has some bearing on why the independent TEBA Pafuri has been taken over and will be in Sanparks' hands at the end of the month.
Flutterby wrote:Also picked up on that RP....let's hope this doesn't mean more development!!! :?
Poplap wrote:
Lisbeth wrote:
Prof Van Riet: "If you take the old Skukuza, and after 7.30pm there was nothing for people to do. A lot of the activities envisaged inside this new development would be things you could do after that... restaurant or the bar."
Or Caraoke :twisted:

Since when do people need something like that in Kruger. What a ridiculous thing to say :evil:
Since when is there no hotels (concessions), restaurants and bars in Kruger? O/ O/ O/ He clearly doesn't visit Kruger often. There is a restaurant and bar at all the big camps. And of course, at the existing hotels. O/ O/ O/ O/

And yes, his side of the story were full of bad omen. Full of it. Pafuri, here they come!! :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

"Groot bohaai about nothing, Dr van Riet? Say what??!! You've clearly lost the conservation plot!
iNdlovu wrote:Remember who's paying him and his company for the environmental assessment.
Mel wrote:Can't add anything that hasn't said before...

No cause for jubilations, methinks and the sidemarks
are serious reasons to be concerned regarding more development...

I'll wear my new t-shirt in Addo. :evil:
Richprins wrote:The Pafuri Highway will take many years, fortunately, and if anyone has any sense, should be strictly confined to exiting at Pafuri gate...lots of room for development along that corridor!

Hopefully a straighter route to Polokwane from there, OUTSIDE the Park...road-building and job creation! \O
wbritz wrote:Now this is really starting to P....S me of, we have all this struggling issues about poor service delivery, crime, corruption etc. We put people in power to look after the well being of this country, and yet what are they doing...NOTHING...and then like we are...we the people must assist with everything...ant that what they get paid for...it's there job. I's sad that money is more important then human right, and not to say animal well fear.

Instead of them wasting there time and money on new developments...they should think of the protecting of the rhino...as i see it...the only people fighting is us.

If you really want 5star treatment in the KNP...you don't belong there, i can book you in at a couple of good places in Sandton. What more do you want after 7:30 then a couple of friends around a bomb fire with a glass of wine...and listen to the most beautiful sound nature can offer! For me this is nothing more then just some one that wants to make a lot of money with a development.

For every brick they lay...i will brake them down.
Jaclyn wrote:I asked Do you believe that we will or are making a difference??

I have no doubt you are but wondering if those "higher" up ever bother to read about what we the public feel??
Toko wrote:
Jaclyn wrote:I asked Do you believe that we will or are making a difference??

I have no doubt you are but wondering if those "higher" up ever bother to read about what we the public feel??
Image Hi Jaclyn

We can seek to raise public awareness broadly on environmental issues and provide a place to think and discuss about for example what a national park should be for.

According to current legal rules all over the world as well as the IUCN guidelines, national parks are responsible for nature protection and for
recreational objectives. As these are in essence conflicting objectives, the national park should allow only recreational activities which protect nature and these activities (and the facilities you need) may not adversely affect the protective purpose of the national park. The compatibility of recreational activities with nature should be measured primarily against effects on the ecosystem, in particular the animal and plant world (not on effects of the expected income for SANPARKs).
As there are hardly any areas left all over the world with unspoilt nature, the aim of a National Park is therefore to create opportunities to
experience unspoilt nature or wilderness. As the alienation from nature takes hold in the large conurbations and industrial centres, so the need for untouched nature grows.
With visitor facilities such as hotels with night life and entertainment facilities, conference centres, big events within the parks and so on a National Park for sure can not to meet this need for wilderness experience.
Geza wrote:Well said Toko.

And since our appointed custodians of SANPARKS seem to have forgotten this salient fact, I guess it becomes our responsibility and duty to keep reminding them until such time as they hear us.

One of the issues at stake here is that Dr Mabunda believes he has the support of the masses who live adjacent to the Kruger and other national parks. Since they are not well educated, and most likely living below the breadline, it was probably easy to convince them thet building the hotels would be the magic bullet cure to all their ailments, creating instant wealth and employment for all. (This is merely my conclusion)

By the time they realise they have been duped, Dr Mabunda with his kickbacks and instant wealth will probably be long gone leaving them in pretty much the same state they live in today. There is the most likely probability that KNP may by then be in ruins anyway making their plight all the worse.

I for one am happy that I do not have to find this balance between conservation and touriism income, but I just wish there was more openness and honesty from SANPARKS regarding this whole affair.

Who knows, maybe in 10 years time, all of us doomsayers may well be proven wrong.

I seriously doubt this though and my antagonisim and distrust of SANPARKS and their motives springs from their not playing the game by the rules.

There was a news item I read somewhere and foolishly, I neglected to save it for future reference, but it went along the lines of us being labeled (once again) by one of SANPARKS employees as being outdated dinosaurs standing in the way of greatness and progress. THe one thing I do remember was that the lady in question said what are we so hit up about a "mere 240 beds" for?

Why indeed? Perhaps recapping is not a bad thing. Firstly the EIA process has been flawed or not representative of an unbiased EIA.

There are concerns for the siting of the Melelane hotel due to it interfering with the breeding site of the Pels fishing owls.

There are concerns for an increased human footprint in an already overcrowded part of the reserve which may seriously impact on the fauna and flora of the area.

So in keeping with your post, I absolutely agree that this process should be done correctly, that an independent and fair EIA be done and that all parties agree with the outcome whatever it may be. Perhaps then the good doctor might have met with allies instead of enemies.

As I feel insulted by his comments in the press and other media, he is now my declared enemy and I intend to fight this to the end. In the words of a great historical statesman, "we shall NEVER surrender."

In line with this fight, I think that CB have helped raise awareness to this and despite a "watered down" version of wht we anticipated, it has done us more good than harm. (Well, that is my feeling about it anyway.)

There are many issues I haven't touched on but those are the important ones for me, or at least the ones I recall at this moment.

Let us unite in this common goal and fight the good fight, together. \O
Richprins wrote:
BunnyHugger wrote:
One of the issues at stake here is that Dr Mabunda believes he has the support of the masses who live adjacent to the Kruger and other national parks. Since they are not well educated, and most likely living below the breadline, it was probably easy to convince them thet building the hotels would be the magic bullet cure to all their ailments, creating instant wealth and employment for all.
BH, agreed!

But the above is a highly overrated scenario created by Sanparks to boost their media image years after the Malelane and Skukuza hotels were approved, literally!

There was even a highly contrived letter to our local paper pleading for the Minister to look after the neighbours regarding this matter.

In actual fact, in my experience, the neighbouring communities are perfectly aware of the value Kruger brings to their regional and personal livelihoods, and the entire subject is a red herring!

Kruger has been a profitable neighbour for these communities over many generations...and that includes ALL races.

Sanparks themselves admit to a regional income of around R2 billion per year for the Lowveld as a result of Kruger, although it is virtuallly impossible to calculate...Groovy and I have tried a small sample for Hazyview alone, and it is very difficult, but very big!
Geza wrote:
Rich, this is open to interpretation by one with a faulty brain, notably my own. I am not sure how exacty to interpret this but here is a summaton.

This hotel issue is then nothing more than a well disguised effort on the part of the CEO to make some money for personal gain at the expense of the Nature reserve while furthering his political aspirations. In point of fact, the impact will most likely be a big white elephant that the tax payer will bear the burden of because they will not be sutainable when the intended market find out that listening to the sounds of nature is not all it was made out to be. They will then go back to the big noise and lights entertanment of the cities from whence they come.

And while building these hotels it is highly likely that due to biased EIA reports, that the reserve will suffer irreparable damage.

I further interpret all this information to mean that because this is how we interpret this information that we are upstarts, dinosaurs and racists to boot. Or is that because we do not accept his word that building the hotels will do no more hram to Kruger (and all the other reserves) than a person drinking a glass of purified water? :?

I find this all a bit difficult to swallow myself.

And then when Kruger is gone, what are the locals going to do to survive?
Richprins wrote:No, the community issue suddenly became a herring once opposition to the hotels began...simple politics.


The CEO does not make money, as far as I know, directly.


A simple analogy, to respond to Jaclyn too, is that the high-income Kruger lodges/concessions targeting rich tourists whether foreign or not, are mostly struggling, with one opting out! This is also plain economics, and was already a threat well known by Sanparks when approval was given for the two hotels...

But the deal had been signed. Reasons for approval of said hotels have since included attraction of local government workers, "black diamonds" from across the country, specifically Gauteng, providing jobs, and even a reference to the "new revolution in North African Muslim countries"...I kid you not! (How Sanparks predicted the Muslim uprisings in 2008 already remains a mystery!)
Richprins wrote:No, the community issue suddenly became a herring once opposition to the hotels began...simple politics.


The CEO does not make money, as far as I know, directly.


A simple analogy, to respond to Jaclyn too, is that the high-income Kruger lodges/concessions targeting rich tourists whether foreign or not, are mostly struggling, with one opting out! This is also plain economics, and was already a threat well known by Sanparks when approval was given for the two hotels...

But the deal had been signed. Reasons for approval of said hotels have since included attraction of local government workers, "black diamonds" from across the country, specifically Gauteng, providing jobs, and even a reference to the "new revolution in North African Muslim countries"...I kid you not! (How Sanparks predicted the Muslim uprisings in 2008 already remains a mystery!)
Poplap wrote:Some valid points made by all concerned.

Toko wrote:
Jaclyn wrote:I asked Do you believe that we will or are making a difference??

I have no doubt you are but wondering if those "higher" up ever bother to read about what we the public feel??
Image Hi Jaclyn

We can seek to raise public awareness broadly on environmental issues and provide a place to think and discuss about for example what a national park should be for.

According to current legal rules all over the world as well as the IUCN guidelines, national parks are responsible for nature protection and for recreational objectives. As these are in essence conflicting objectives, the national park should allow only recreational activities which protect nature and these activities (and the facilities you need) may not adversely affect the protective purpose of the national park.

The compatibility of recreational activities with nature should be measured primarily against effects on the ecosystem, in particular the animal and plant world (not on effects of the expected income for SANPARKs).

As there are hardly any areas left all over the world with unspoilt nature, the aim of a National Park is therefore to create opportunities to experience unspoilt nature or wilderness. As the alienation from nature takes hold in the large conurbations and industrial centres, so the need for untouched nature grows.

With visitor facilities such as hotels with night life and entertainment facilities, conference centres, big events within the parks and so on a National Park for sure can not to meet this need for wilderness experience.
\O \O \O , Toko. My point exactly (my bold).

RP, you mean to say some of the KNP Management is clairvoyant? :shock: :? :evil: Signed, yes, legally so, NO!
ceruleanwildfire wrote:
Poplap wrote:Link to the CB footage: http://beta.mnet.co.za/carteblanche/Art ... 6&ShowId=1

I see our go-greeny, CWF, has left a comment.
I'm hoping that the more comments we leave on their site the more appetite they will have to pursue this further. Please post you questions on their site and comment on how you feel (This appeal applies to everyone not just Poplap). \O

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