Letter to the Editor
AS the world marks International Wetlands Day today – highlighting the need to protect this valuable natural heritage – KZN has its very own example of illegal drainage of a registered wetland right here in Zululand.
The Balamhlanga wet land in the Makhathini Flats near Jozini is being drained under the guise of alien plant eradication. KZN’s Agriculture department, using Ezemvelo as the implementing agent, have destroyed the wetland by using hard concrete channels to drain it.
The National Department of Environmental Affairs has instituted criminal charges through the Green Scorpions against Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the Department of Agriculture among others, for their role in this project without an Environmental Impact Assessment as required by the National Environmental Management Act. They cannot claim ignorance of the law since the protection of the environment is their mandate.
The Democratic Alliance has submitted questions to both the National Minister and the MEC of Agriculture – both without response at this stage. It is well known that justice delayed is justice denied. This applies to the environment under threat as much as to people in law.
The current drought affecting the Zululand region should be a wake-up call to take the plight of our Wetlands very seriously. Rehabilitation in the case of Balamhlanga is imperative while accountability must be laid at the responsible person’s door.