Western Cape Environmental Affairs Minister Announces Cabinet Decision on Investigation Findings into Golf Courses and Polo Estates.
There was unanimous concern about the usage of the most fertile agricultural land for such estates and the subsequent impact they have in driving up land values, putting land out of the reach of ordinary citizens. Cabinet believes this will ensure that land reform programmes will be stymied and therefore, our target of 30% land transformation by 2014, will not be reached.
In the context of severe water shortages and restrictions, cabinet was horrified to learn that a golf course easily used up to 2 million litres of water per day. This is clearly unsustainable.
Cabinet debated the employment impact of such development and while indications are that in the construction phase they are labour intensive, this is not sustained once the estate is operational. However, this, together with other local economic factors and impacts, will need to be further clarified as we move towards the final report.
Cabinet reiterated its commitment to policies that do not lead to greater sprawl and its attendant stress on municipal services.
In the light of all of these, and other factors, cabinet considered the imposition of a moratorium on the 33 current applications awaiting approval and any new applications. Cabinet weighed this up against the legal sustainability as well as the requirements of administrative justice.
Given the desirability to intervene in the interest of sustainable development, cabinet understands that we must continue to follow due process. This therefore, requires of us, that before we can impose a moratorium, all interested and affected parties should be given an opportunity to be heard.
In the next weeks, I will be advertising, in the media, calling for submissions in response to the findings of the investigation. Such submissions will be evaluated by the end of January 2005 and these written submissions will be the basis for a decision on a moratorium or not.
In the meantime, any application will be thoroughly considered on its own merits in terms of the requirements of the law and in the interests of sustainable development.
Issued by Minister Tasneem Essop: Minister of Environmental Affairs and Planning.
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