started this petition to
Limpopo Environmental Authorities (LEDET)
THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE THAT HAVE SIGNED & ALL THOSE ABOUT TO! We have sent our Appeal Forms to the Department and have to wait +-10 days to hear the outcome. I'll keep everyone informed. We hope sanity prevails so that this development is stopped!
South Africa's largest intact Protected Area and its potential to expand is at risk due to LEDET (Limpopo’s Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism) authorising a citrus development.
LEDET has granted an application to develop a 120ha citrus farm next
to Klaserie Private Nature Reserve (KPNR). Through this action
LEDET has failed not only the Hoedspruit community, but that for which they are
mandated to protect. Not only have they put the Protected Areas Network at risk
by destroying the continuity of the landscapes and habitat, but they have also failed
to secure a future for fauna and flora supported within the surrounding ecosystems.
This seemingly inconsequential act of approving the
development severely undermines National and Provincial conservation efforts of
maintaining ecosystem resilience for future climate change implications. In addition,
there appears to be an apparent trend for inappropriate development
applications being granted without due consideration for the real and severe impacts
on the environment. Despite the environmental concerns highlighted by a group
of dedicated individuals relating directly to this inappropriate citrus farm development,
the development was authorised. LEDET clearly appears to be disregarding its
mandate to secure an ecologically functional landscape and this is a real threat
to vital ecosystem goods and services necessary for human well-being in the
region. The greater consequence of this development will derail the plan of expanding
the APNR to Hoedspruit and reduce the opportunity for the region to become a
cornerstone for conservation.
The Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA) is incorrect in claiming that the 120ha piece of land that is about to be
irreversibly destroyed by planting citrus trees is not unique. Although similar
land types are relatively widespread throughout the Lowveld, any damage to
these areas highlights the lack of understanding of the urgency to protect
these areas and keep them intact. For an ecosystem to function properly it must
not be fragmented as this reduces its resilience and leads to environmental collapse.
This developmental approval shows a general short-sightedness by the relevant
authorities of understanding the environmental impacts of one development at a
time. This cumulative effect of negative impacts is equivalent to the “death by
a thousand cuts” for our environment.
If similar developments are to be
authorised, there will be no viable areas left to create crucial ecological
to start considering the bigger picture for the region. How would a citrus farm, which not
only falls within a Protected Areas Buffer Zone, borders a Protected Area
and an important river, but also occurs on land classified as a Critical
Biodiversity Area (CBA) benefit the surrounding landscape? How will
a citrus farm equip the landscape in order to survive several years of severe
drought? How justifiable is it to allow for the deliberate degradation of a
Protected Area through the cumulative impacts of excessive water extraction and
the addition of pesticides, chemicals and other pollutants? It has been
estimated that South Africa will “exceed the limits of economically viable
land-based water resources by 2050” yet a water thirsty development has been
approved on the Klaserie River. A mature citrus tree can use as much as 60
litres of water per day during the winter months when the water levels of the
river will already be low! Just imagine its direct impact on the aquatic
ecosystem and that of downstream, and not to mention the overall impact on faunal
movements within the reserve. We should be asking ourselves if small scale economic
gain should override the importance of protecting South Africa’s largest intact
There has to
come a time when the importance of safeguarding our natural environment takes
preference to the economic benefit of a selected few. We need to realise that
no amount of economic development is going to ensure a viable environmental
future unless we protect the very source that provides that future.
As a community who knows the true value of the bushveld and all that it entails, it
is time you stand up to help protect it. Make your voices heard in this and future EIA’s.
Help us pressurise LEDET to suspend their authorisation after we appeal the EIA.
Let your dedication to the cause help fuel the passionate individuals
who are at the forefront of safeguarding our fragile environment by preventing
its destruction and fragmentation. Without your voices, inappropriate developments will destroy South Africa’s last remaining natural area.
Let your dedication be the campfire stories for generations to come.