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2018-07-17 06:00
PHOTO: Samantha Lee

PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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“These dunes are our walls, they protect us from the storms and the winds. We don’t have brick walls like the rest of you. We are already swimming when the rains come and now you want to take the dunes away. We as the residents of 7de Laan are not going to allow you to do that.”

These were the words of Kaylee Steyn, a resident of the 7de Laan informal settlement in response to a sand mining application set to mine five hectares of land next to the settlement­.

In a heated public participation meeting held on Wednesday last week, while some had questions regarding the application, residents strongly objected the sand mining proposal.

Elton Jansen, ward 43 councillor, called the meeting, stating his role in the process was only to facilitate the meeting. He says that following a previous sand mining application in Bayview, he felt the need to call the meeting with the consultants prior to the finalisation of the application.

“Whatever the community decides, I will follow suit and support that,” he says.

“You have a right to speak and you must exercise that right.”

Fazu Sand has applied to the National Department of Mineral Resources for a mining permit and environmental authorisation to mine sand on a portion of land situated along Spine Road. The mining area covers five hectares stretching from Spine Road to Baden Powell Drive, bordered by Camp and Old Strandfontein roads.

But while residents were concerned about the dunes previously being deemed a protected conservation area, Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP) Rugshana Daniels confirmed the site had previously been excluded from the City of Cape Town’s conservation list due an overgrowth of invasive species. The land is owned by the City, however, they cannot grant a permit to mine as this application can only be approved by the national department.

“Mining rights are granted by the minister of Mineral Resources but public participation is a crucial part of the application process. Your input is important,” said Jansen­.

Profits are meant to be ploughed back into a project to the benefit of the entire community, should the mining project be approved, said consultant Gregory Davids.

Davids added that the public participation process was not only in line with legislation and that they were interested in the community’s opinion on the matter.

“We are part of the community and we either get your support or not. We have learnt from other companies who have ignored the community and it created problems. We are in the beginning of the process and that is why we convened this meeting to determine if there is a possibility and how we can work with the community,” he said.

“Part of why we are here is to make sure the community benefits if the application is granted. With any mining project, the community must benefit.”

Daniels says the permit lasts for around two years but will be based on demand.

“Because the demand for sand is so high, the process may only last around a year and six months. The mining will see the land being moved sectionally and not all at once. We will also be rehabilitating the land and making sure that the vegetation grows,” she said.

In response to a question posed by a resident on the potential job creation, Davids continued that based on the site, mining plan and stipulations of the project, locals would be employed to help with the removal of the topsoil.

Health and safety, road infrastructure, noise, dust and the movement of large trucks were all listed as concerns; however Ghaironeesa Diedericks seemed to highlight the sentiment of the community when she declined any form of sand mining.

“No, no, no. We don’t want any sand mining. Before I could look out of my house and see the beach but now I can’t be cause of the dunes. Leave our sand. Leave our dunes, they are beautiful,” she said.

“We all feel that way,” one resident shouted from the back, followed by applause.

V Continued on page 4.

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