06 Mar 2012

With regards to the beer photo @ the Chapmans Peak protest in Hout Bay

With regards to the beer photo @ the Chapmans Peak protest in Hout Bay

Here is an explaination on why this photo was taken of a protester with a bottle of beer: (Email is from Fiona J. Hinds)

Beer is traditionally used in Xhosa ceremonies, it is swilled in the mouth & then spat out on the ground … the Ancestors miss having a beer (they were humans once!) and the beer attracts them to where ever the ceremony is held.  I have been told by Sangoma’s that I am a White Sangoma, I have not had any Twasa (training under another Sangoma) but I do have my own ways which come to me when I walk in the mountains.

I camped on site for 5 nights and during this time I endured over 30Cdegrees heat during the days and Gale Force winds for 4 nights, it was like being in a Sweat Lodge ceremony for 6 days to be honest!  One of the most gruelling ordeals I have ever encountered!  I have a history of extreme adventures, I am an Advanced Scuba Diver, I have dived with Blue & Mako sharks, I have spent 6 days at sea in a Kayak off Vancouver Island, done road trips to Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Lamu and the islands north of Lamu (on the Kenya coast) where I was the 1st white person they had seen in 6 years.  There is not much that scares me, except crazy engineers who want to over-engineer this beauty spot!

My strongest feeling about this area is that M&R are treating this pass as a cash-cow, and that their designers & engineers have completely “over-engineered” Chapman’s Peak Drive just to spend a lot of money.  They are presently making a loss on their world wide constructions, this could be a nice little piggy bank they raid for cash flow!  The Chappies pass used to be looked after by a small team of workers from Cape Metro Council, for over 30 years NO deaths and run on a tiny budget with trucks parked at the Tintswalo site (which has now been given away for 30 years concession).  How did they manage the pass so well?

It is a mystery to me that it now takes R350million to “re-engineer” a pass that was stable for all those years!  Between 1990 & the Big Fire of 2000 a large fuel bank was allowed to build up on the slopes of Table Mountain (all over) and this contributed to the spate of rockfalls after the fire.  The stakes & netting have only caused more harm, the sandstone is already very unstable and has been made more so by hitting stakes into it!  Then from 2003 to 2008 Entillini claimed back R59 million for “lower than expected traffic volumes”… what a con!  Did you know that Martin East  (of Hout Bay) tendered a bid 150% below the bid that Entillini won with?  A lower tender should have won & we would not have this over-engineering nightmare we are faced with now!




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05 Mar 2012

790Tv gets answers to the “Chapmans Peak Saga”, in Hout Bay

790Tv gets  answers to the “Chapmans Peak Saga”, in Hout Bay

Beer for anyone?

After much disinformation and banter from all sides, 790Tv decided to asked the office of the MEC for Transport & Public Works,  to answer a few questions…

1. Where do we stand with construction of the toll and is it going ahead.

So far, some of the support structures for the toll booth canopies have been built, alien vegetation has been cleared (except for one gum tree in an awkward position). Slope stabilisation is taking place next, which means cutting an overhanging bulge off the cliff face at the back of the quarry for safety reasons. The slope will be further stabilised using gabion baskets – ie wireframe square baskets filled with natural stone as seen on many Cape Town roads. So, construction is indeed going ahead.
2. Has UNESCO contacted him? Is so what is his opinion on UNESCO getting in contact?

UNESCO have not made contact with either SANParks or the Ministry to our knowledge.

UNESCO have identified alien vegetation and wildfire as the primary threats to the Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site, which Table Mountain National Park is one of the areas of. We agree with this assessment and are therefore interested to share with them the actions we have taken to preserve Chapman’s Peak in this regard, and the longer term plan to keep the pass free of this threat. It should be noted that all South African environmental laws have been complied with, and that UNESCO does not attempt to impose new laws or change the laws of member countries. Sites in countries which have inadequate environmental protection laws are excluded from UNESCO Natural World Heritage.
3. Does the DA not fear alienating a strong DA community with its action in supporting the building of the new toll plaza?

As Steven points out this is correctly a question for the DA directly, but in terms of principles the DA is a party for which respect for the Constitution and the rule of law is paramount. Special interests should not be allowed to over-ride due process or the interests of the Province as a whole, regardless of whether this costs a political party votes. Please confirm with DA spokespeople. I have copied the office of the DA Leader for convenience.

(We hope to receive an answer from the DA)
4. Does this not set a precendence for other parts of the Hout Bay community to move onto TMNP illegally?

Comparison between the illegal occupation of SANParks land by individuals intending to build houses for permanent occupation and the establishment of a tolling operation to keep a road through SANParks land open are false comparisons from first premises.

A legally constituted process which has fulfilled all South African environmental legislation and which has received the blessing of SANParks cannot set a precedent for land invasions unless deliberately distorted and manipulated for their own ends by unscrupulous politicians.
5. Has the current province leadership signed a new contract with Entillini in order to make up for money it lost on the previous contract made with the ANC and Entillini?

The Third Amending Agreement to the original contract was negotiated by this administration and prevents paid, unilateral closures of the pass by the concessionaire, and provides for recovery of R60M earned by the concessionaire while the pass was closed.

(Hector Elliot from the ministry, answered the questions)

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14 Feb 2012

Hopefully no dead bodies in Hout Bay!

An update on Bronwen Lankers-Byrne hunger strike, to stop the building of the new Chapmans Peak Toll…video produced by VisualBusiness.

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10 Feb 2012

Bronwen Lankers-Byrne doing something for Chappies and Hout Bay

Bronwen Lankers-Byrne doing something for Chappies and Hout Bay

Whether you are for or against the toll being built on Chapmans Peak Drive, Hout Bay needs people like Bronwen Lankers-Byrne, who stand by their opinion and are passionate about their community!

taken from iol.co.za/Zara Nicholson

HUNGER striker, Hout Bay activist Bronwen Lankers-Byrne has not taken food for five days because of her opposition to the controversial new Chapman’s Peak toll plaza and office block.

Lankers-Byrne started her hunger strike at 7am on Sunday on Chapman’s Peak, opposite the construction site.

The former Buddhist nun, 59, fasted for 19 days about two decades ago.

She said initially she was worried that she might not be as strong as she was before, but said yesterday that she felt as good as she did 20 years ago.

Lankers-Byrne has been sitting opposite the construction site every day from 7am to 7pm and said she would only stop if construction was halted and opposition civil society groups were able to hold transparent talks with the provincial government and Entilini.

Lankers-Byrne told the Cape Times yesterday: “I got sick on Sunday and Monday, but by Tuesday I was fine.

“After three days my pounding headache and the nausea disappeared.

“I feel weaker but a lot clearer in my head and very strong spiritually.”

Lankers-Byrne has only been drinking between six and 10 litres of water a day, and said she only felt hungry when she walked past restaurants on her way to the Chapman’s Peak construction site in the morning.

She said she had received support from passers-by.

“Everyone who stops is so interested and I engage with them,” Lankers-Byrne said.

“They sign the petition opposing the construction and we even received a R2 000 donation for court action.”

More than 160 people have signed the petition against the site, while the Civil Rights Action Group has collected about 4 000 signatures.

Lankers-Byrne said earlier this week that it seemed that some people had vandalised the foundation, which builders had started last week. She said that the construction company had, however, continued building this week despite the widespread opposition to the project.

Civil society groups maintain that the building being constructed is not the same building seen on the plans they commented on during the public participation process.

Two weeks ago Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle gave the go-ahead for construction to begin on the toll plaza and office block development, worth R54 million.

However, the Hout Bay Residents Association is still expected to file for an urgent interdict to stop construction of the disputed development.


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27 Jan 2012

The decadence starts in Hout Bay

The decadence starts in Hout Bay

After a great showing by protesters over the weekend, the building of the new plaza looks like it has begun…

So here is the predicament we face  as a community.  The tolling/management company of Chapmans Peak Drive are given the go ahead to start building by Robin Carlisle, a Member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament for the Democratic Alliance and Provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works. One of the conundrums is that  the vast majority of protesters over the weekend probably voted for the Democratic Alliance, in the last local election.

The fact that the Table Mountain National Park allocated land for the building of the toll, opens up a “whole can of worms” for the community of Hangberg who might possibly view this as an opportunity to illegally move on to TMNP land across the bay, below the Sentinel.

Or how about the 54 Million Rand of taxpayers money, being spent to build the “decadent” toll building that could go into alleviating housing and social issues in Imizamo Yethu.

Sure this project,  and later the management of the toll will create local jobs, but at what price will it be achieved? The Table Mountain National Park is constitutionally the rights of all South African and thus owned by all South Africans.

Whats stopping me from dropping in a few sand bags next to Tintswalo Lodge, to create an artificial reef to surf on. Have you seen how crowded Llandudno has been this summer?

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