Kimberley ornithologist receives charge sheet

Posted by Laura Grant on September 7, 2008
Posted in Conservation

Kimberley ornithologist Mark Anderson – who was suspended with two of his colleagues by the Northern Cape department of tourism, environment and nature conservation last month for what appears to be their efforts to protect the flamingo breeding site on Kamfers Dam – has received his charge sheet this week, the Saturday Star reports. But his colleagues, Julius Koen and Eric Hermann have not.

Anderson told the Saturday Star that there were 17 charges, none of which related to the R2-billion Northgate housing development, which is planned for opposite the dam in an area that was originally meant to be set aside for conservation, but was rezoned in December. “There is nothing in the charge sheet about the Northgate development, which is the initial reason we were suspended. It’s all about other stuff related to the flamingos and my work with fish eagles,” he is quoted as saying.

The developers of the Northgate project – Northern Cape Property Investment Holdings and the Group 1 Group of Companies – confirmed to Kimberley’s Diamond Fields Advertiser last month that they had laid a complaint with the department about “certain officials” not being “neutral or unbiased and should therefore not act on behalf of the department when reviewing the Northgate environmental impact assessment [EIA]”.

The Star reports that the three men were told when they were suspended that they were not allowed to make submissions on the Northgate EIA.

In a statement that was reported by the DFA the developers said that they supported the Save the Flamingo campaign and its endeavours to protect the flamingo habitat.

They also said that “no favours, gifts or payment have been made to any government official past or present in order to solicit support or favour in the application or approval of the Northgate development”.

The statement added that: “The support forthcoming from government officials, municipal officials and prominent members of the public is due to the desire to supply affordable housing to the people of Kimberley and the upliftment of the Roodepan area.”

Meanwhile, the DFA reported that the department of water affairs and forestry had placed a moratorium on any new development in Kimberley that would aggravate the already critical state of the city’s waste water treatment plants.

Problems at the Homevale waste water treatment plant were reportedly the reason the Save the Flamingo campaign was initiated. Raw sewage is pouring from Homevale into the Kamfers Dam on which thousands of lesser flamingos have begun to breed thanks to an artificial island that has been built on the dam.

In another report this week, the DFA said the Sol Plaatjie Municipality, within which Kimberley falls, said it had not received written notification from the department of water affairs that a moratorium had been placed on new developments in the town until the Homevale waste water treatment plant had been brought up to scratch.

Sources: Saturday Star (print edition) 6.9.08. Clippings from Diamond Fields Advertiser available on Save the Flamingo website.

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