In April, we reported that the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning of the Western Cape had rejected the developer’s Final Scoping Report for the Harbour Development; however, he was granted six months within which to submit a revised and compliant Scoping Report.
The six-month extension expired on 7th October; two working days before the expiry date the developer applied for a two-year extension.
On 21st October, the Department rejected the application for extension, informing the developer that approval for the current environmental application has now finally lapsed.
For the Department’s detailed and strongly worded comment, see the attached document.
What does this mean?
The developer may still appeal against the rejection but the chances of a successful appeal seem remote.
Should the developer still wish to pursue the project, an entirely new environmental application must be filed with the department and, if granted, the whole process will have to begin right from the start.
We do not know for sure whether the developer will now give up on the project. However, considering the overwhelming public rejection, the newly enacted highly restrictive environmental and land use legislation, the hard stance of the department as well as the substantial cost and time that will accompany a new application, the developer would have to be extremely determined to try again. However, it cannot be ruled out entirely.
The Save Plett Alliance believe that this is the best possible outcome we could have hoped for.
A word of thanks
A huge thank you to every participating member of the Plett community, the broader South African public and our many friends from abroad who expressed their objection to this most destructive proposal. Words cannot express the depth of our appreciation for the generosity of those who donated money towards the cause, making it possible for us to appoint the best legal counsel available in the country.
We thank the Plettenberg Bay Community Environmental Forum who started the resistance to the harbour development project, and who provided expertise and support every step of the way.
Thanks also to the Plettenberg Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association who acted as the umbrella body for the Save Plett Alliance and provided manpower during our surveys and also initial financial support.
Thank you to Cecil Gelbart of ENS attorneys and his legal team for providing us with sound legal guidance, for acting as mediator and for submitting timeous and exceptionally well-researched legal objections throughout the EIA process.
It has been a privilege and honour to work with the Save Plett team. The volume of work that this group of volunteers got through is astounding. The standard of their work and level of integrity were admirable. Many thanks to Annabelle Conyngham for her ceaseless fund-raising work, to Elbie Burger for her sage advice, to Chris Steyn and Peter Gaylard, and to Bill Nell who spent more time and effort on the campaign than anyone else.
Thanks also to our ad hoc members Christa Joubert, Christo Vlok, and Flip Joubert. A very special word of thanks to Margie Wilson-Taylor who sadly had to stand back as secretary for health reasons.
Our financial position
The Save Plett Alliance requires just over R7 000 to settle the final legal bill. Once settled, we can close the account and wind up activities. We hope that we can rely for the last time on monetary support from our wonderful community.
Both the Ratepayers Association and the Environmental Forum, our two main alliance partners, wholly depend on membership fees and public donations and both are presently in dire financial straits. Should we be fortunate enough to raise more than the amount required to settle the legal bill we undertake to split the balance equally between these two deserving organisations.
Our bank details are as follows:
Account: Save Plett Alliance
Standard Bank Plettenberg Bay
Branch code: 050714
Account number: 387355316
Swift code: SBZA ZAJJ
Please remember to use your name and email address as a reference to allow us to provide receipts.
Basil van Rooyen
On behalf of the Save Plett Campaign