EIA still underway for development adjoining Kruger
The environmental impact assessment process for the Lions Walk Wildlife Estate on the farm Rietvley adjoining the Kruger National Park (KNP) has now gone through a second public participation process. Comments were solicited from the interested and affected parties after the Draft Scoping Report was released in December last year. These comments are now being addressed by Rhengu Environmental Services. Errol Pietersen, warden of the Umbabat Private Nature Reserve and acting as a representative of the Associated Private Nature Reserves in this matter, said that he had submitted several comments.
He said that it was felt that inadequate provision had been made for the stabilisation of the roads, the extraction of water had not been adequately addressed, further studies on rare and endangered species should be carried out, and that the number of vehicles estimated to be in use during the operational phase of the development had been misrepresented. The draft scoping report states that the initial proposal to erect 70 lodges has been assessed and recommends that only 49 lodges could be accommodated on the Rietvley Farm. The proposal to erect a commercial lodge and a clubhouse was withdrawn.
Assurances regarding Polokwane airport
By Dirk Nel
The Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport has assured the public that systems at the Polokwane International Airport will soon be fully operational once again. A number of flights had to be either cancelled or redirected recently, due to the faulty equipment at the airport. Frustrated pilots, business leaders and freight operators have criticised the department for allegedly dragging their feet over the issue, while several Polokwane City Councillors have expressed serious doubts regarding the competency of the airport’s technical staff to operate and maintain the equipment.
Two men not guilty of killing fish eagle
Two members of staff from Lake St Lucia have been declared ‘not guilty’ by an internal disciplinary hearing after they were accused of bludgeoning a fish eagle to death recently. Three tourists who had been watching a fish eagle in the water of Charters Creek at Lake St Lucia were horrified when two Coast Care staff members apparently beat the bird to death with a stick. The tourists had believed that the fish eagle, which was slowly approaching the shore, was ‘walking’ a large fish to land prior to eating it.
As it was getting dark, Hugh Chittenden left two German tourists to continue observing the bird while he fetched his torch. On his return the German tourists informed him that they had seen one man enter the water and hit the eagle, and were now pulling it out of the water. The next day the men were taken to the tourists where they repeated that the bird was dead prior to their arrival on the scene. The matter was then taken up in an internal legal hearing in Durban According to an official from Lake St Lucia, the bird was indeed dead, as it was already smelling bad when the two men retrieved it. The men were responsible for keeping the beach tidy, and apparently used their rakes to retrieve the bird, appearing in the dim light to be bludgeoning it to death.