Destroy Kosi Bay homes, court orders

2013-05-30 00:00

TWO illegally built holiday homes overlooking Kosi Bay’s Lake Nhlanga must be demolished by January 2014, the high court in Durban ordered yesterday.

The properties are in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

According to iSimangaliso CEO Andrew Zaloumis, Judge Gregory Kruger granted two orders by consent yesterday in favour of the wetland park authority and its conservation partner, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, for the removal of the two unauthorised developments in the names of Adriaan van Tonder and Cules Hamman.

One has been used as a holiday home for more than a decade, and was built before the park was declared a world heritage site.

In terms of the court orders, the developers were given until January 15 next year to remove the structures, as they said they wanted to demolish them themselves.

They were also prevented from undertaking any other developments or commercial activities in the park.

Zaloumis said this brought to 44 the number of unauthorised and illegal developments removed in iSimangaliso, following its listing as a world heritage site in December 1999.

He said the developments so far removed from the Kosi Bay, Black Rock and Lake Sibaya areas ranged from “cleared camp sites, to small holiday camps/cottages, to large commercial developments”.

“In most instances these developments were built and financed by up-country people, who made use of fronting agents from local communities,” he said.

Zaloumis said unauthorised developments placed the entire park and its world heritage status at risk.

“The [effect of the] action of one illegal developer to the environment is incalculable.”

He added that tourism across iSimangaliso has grown significantly, except for areas affected by unauthorised developments.

“A recent KZN Treasury study has shown that the iSimangaliso region has outperformed other tourism destinations in the province, including Durban.

“This growth has been supported by improvements in park infrastructure, the introduction of endemic game, and land restitution and rehabilitation,” he said.

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