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Jef Front
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Plett Small Boat Harbour

03 February 2014, 08:15

JEF has never been fan of Johann Brummer. Neither has he been a fan of JEF. Nevertheless, we give credit where credit is due. Here follows a discerning comment posted by Johann Brummer on the subject of the proposed Small Harbour Development for Plettenberg Bay. We decided that the comment deserved its own post…

Ah! It’s all Brummer’s fault again. A dark conspiracy. And the proof is once again the much abused e-mail. No surprise there.

Let’s look at the facts. I sent the e-mail to Peter Ahearn and have never denied that and stand by what I wrote. The e-mail was made public after my laptop was stolen from my home during a home invasion.

Subsequently the ANC tried to use a portion of the e-mail, totally out of context, in an internal municipal disciplinary hearing to “prove” that I was advocating civil unrest. That failed.

Then the municipality (ANC) again hauled out the e-mail at the height of the 2011 election campaign, again attempting to use that portion of the e-mail again out of context in support of claims that I had fomented sedition. On this occasion they instructed Hardy Mills to first obtain a legal opinion as to whether or not a criminal charge of sedition could be supported by the e-mail. The legal opinion cost the Bitou R13k and clearly stated that it did not constitute sedition. Nothing happened further from the municipality’s side.

“Uit die dokumentasie en inligting tot my beskikking blyk dit dat die voorgenome strafregtelike klagte van SEDISIE teen Brummer in sy geheel berus op die e-pos wat Brummer aan ene Peter Ahern (skynbaar ‘n plaaslike besigheidsman) gestuur het op 2 Junie 2006.”

I’ll translate:

“Out of the documentation and information available to me it appears that the proposed criminal charge of SEDITION against Brummer rests in its entirety on the e-mail that Brummer sent to one Peter Ahearn (apparently a local businessman) on 2 June 2006.”

Then in late 2011 or early 2012, Hardy Mills, apparently in his personal capacity, laid charges of sedition against me using, despite the advocate’s opinion in his possession, the e-mail as a basis again together with self incriminating affidavits from two people he alleged to be my co-conspirators but which were found by the authorities, after investigation, not to incriminate me…

The e-mail makes no reference whatsoever to the proposed small boat harbour, yet Ken and Enrico, without reading the document, want to find some sinister connection between Ahearn and I involving the proposed small boat harbour on the basis that I communicated by e-mail with him in 2006…

Ken, Enrico and Mike, get a copy of the e-mail from Hardy, read it in its entirety and then, from a fully informed position, decide for yourself whether or not there is a sinister “connection” between Ahearn and me.

This is exactly the same kind of reasoning that is applied by Alvin Flaum when he makes a “connection” and accuses Hardy Mills of being on Ahearn’s payroll apparently on the sole basis that they have spoken to each other…

Strange that Enrico finds it acceptable to make a “connection”, jump to wild and unsubstantiated conclusions and play the man where I am concerned but not for others to do so when Hardy Mills is!

About a year ago I was asked in a public meeting where I stood on the issue of a small boat harbour for Plett.

I replied that personally, I am in principle in favour of a small boat harbour based on what I have seen elsewhere and the sustainable economic growth they have brought to other places.

Ask any sailor and they will tell you that the sailing conditions in our bay are second to none in South Africa. It is a unique and valuable natural asset we have and which we should apply to the benefit of the wider community. (Think of the parable of the seven talents.)

I was a minority member of the council who, after an extensive public participation process, resolved to explore the possibilities and who after due process resolved that Western Cape Marina Developments be given the opportunity as preferred bidder to come up with proposals.

Apart from what was said in those meetings, I have never discussed the project with Ahearn nor anybody else connected to the developers. There is a record of the meetings and anybody can ask the municipality for copies of the record.

Neither the Bitou Council nor I have ever expressed an opinion on any specific proposal. The proposed development must first go through a planning and environmental process, which is currently in process.

If there is a positive outcome from the environmental authorities, the developer, will have to decide whether or not to go ahead. Then and then only will the council become involved.

My position is exactly the same as that of Hardy Mills; it is way too early to start expressing an opinion, for or against, a specific development proposal as that can only come after the developer knows the outcome of the planning and environmental process and puts one on the table.

The time to raise and motivate specific concerns about a specific aspect of the broad proposal has come and gone and in my layman’s opinion has been conducted flawlessly by the developer’s environmental consultants under extremely difficult conditions.

Now we must all wait for the record of decision. In my own humble opinion, based on the many development proposals I have seen come and go over the past twenty years in Plett, the record of decision will be so restrictive as to make it financially unviable for the developer. Even so, they may go ahead with what is allowed. That will be the time to take a stand, for or against, and no sooner than that.

While I’m on the subject; we must remember that Plett will develop and grow. I believe that in 30-years time Plett could quite possibly have the same size population as George has today. It will therefore grow and develop physically. How this physical growth happens and what it looks like is up to us.

At present Plett is economically totally dysfunctional and without some very well planned and thought through development strategies and interventions we will continue along this trajectory to becoming a cess pool of poverty, crime and environmental destruction.

If we do not plan and encourage development that will change that trajectory Plett will end up as a massive lawless impoverished squatter camp not unlike the refugee camps we see on TV news. (There will be no environmental and planning process for that.)

It is easy to criticise other peoples’ efforts to develop and to undermine their efforts by casting all kinds of aspersions on them and bringing petty politics into everything in an effort to disrupt, delay and destroy.

Do any of those who criticise and bluntly say NO to development have any workable alternative suggestions? If so, speak up loudly and clearly…


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