Construction threatens Cape fynbos

2012-03-09 14:43
Cape Town - Construction of the Chapman's Peak toll plaza on national parks land would endanger threatened fynbos, the Cape High Court heard on Friday.

Advocate Jeremy Muller, for the Hout Bay Residents' Association, said 500m2 of granite fynbos could be irretrievably lost.

He said the impact on vegetation had not been assessed in an environmental process.

"If we are right, that what the province is contemplating is unlawful... a risk-averse approach is the appropriate one here," he told Judge Rosheni Allie.

If Allie was not to grant an interim order halting construction, the province and toll concessionaire Entilini would continue with unlawful conduct, he said.

He requested a month's delay, as this was when the court would hear the matter of whether construction was lawful.

"No one is suggesting a lengthy stoppage. All we are asking for is four weeks. This is work on a critical path and so it wouldn't interrupt work on the toll plaza."

The area in question was a farm owned by the Labia family and sold to SA National Parks years ago.

According to Muller, the land was not included in the toll construction agreement, and would need to be de-proclaimed by Parliament before it could be built on.

Contravention of the Protected Areas Act could lead to a maximum five year prison sentence.

Muller said the application was on behalf of the people of South Africa as "the environment is held in a public trust".

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