Letter to the Editor – MEC’s sticky situation

Ann Mc Donnell, MPL

Democratic Alliance

The appointment of MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu as KwaZulu-Natal’s political head of both Conservation and Economic Development and Tourism portfolio’s is likely to present a major challenge for him.

In light of the fact that all Economic development and Tourism takes place within the environment, this joint responsibility may yet prove to be a slippery slope for the MEC.  Different interests will demand to be served and regrettably, it is usually the environment – without an obvious profit motive – that is the loser.

A case in point is the proposed Fuleni open cast mine which, at just 70 metres from the southern boundary of the Umfolozi wilderness area, raises serious questions around the protection of our natural heritage.  Yet the coal that is mined is destined for export to India and China.

Certainly this is a sticky situation for the MEC who will want to keep both conservationists and investors happy.

The Fuleni mine is a concern to the DA and we will call for answers around the Environmental Impact Study (EIA).  We want to know whether the outcome of the Study (Record of Decision) has been issued and if so, whether this was done by a national or provincial entity.  We will also ask for clarity regarding the handling of the public participation process and will insist that all records and outcomes be made public.

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal is committed to ensuring that decisions made around both the Economic Development and Conservation portfolios are made with the best interests of KwaZulu-Natal, its people and wilderness heritage as priority.