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Protect the Paardeberg!

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We demand that the Swartland Municipal Tribunal reverse its grant of consent use to authorise sand mining activities on the Paardeberg.

The Paardeberg is a sprawling granitic mountain in the Swartland area of the Western Cape in South Africa, near the town of Malmesbury and just an hour from Cape Town. It got its Dutch name “Horse Mountain” from the zebra-like animals which once roamed here. Today, the higher reaches of this beautiful mountain are still covered with natural vegetation, but the kloofs (valleys) and lower slopes are home to innumerable grapevines. Rutted gravel roads lead to the dotted farmhouses and wineries. This century, the Paardeberg has been the focus of an extraordinary revolution in wine making, ensuring that it, and the Swartland have become internationally famous for its wines.

But the mountain habitat, rural atmosphere and viticultural heritage of the Paardeberg is being violently threatened, and the responsible authorities are allowing it to happen.

The Paardeberg is being targeted by sand mining companies and a few farmers are willing to allow the area to be despoiled in exchange for, of course, profit.

A crucial stage in getting permits for such mining operations is getting permission from the local authorities. Despite detailed objections, the Swartland Municipal Tribunal has now (February 2017) granted consent use to authorise mining activities on two farms in the area – an awful precedent: how many more will follow?

The Protect the Paardeberg Coalition has been formed by farmers in the area, with other individuals and organisations to fight any exploitation that would lead to the degradation of its agricultural potential, sustainable jobs, biodiversity and responsible eco-tourism. Living in a time in which natural habitats together with their flora and fauna are disappearing at an alarming rate worldwide, this precious place and the activities that flow from it must be protected by us all.

We will fight any attempts to crowd the Paardeberg’s roads with massive sand-bearing trucks endangering the lives of local kids walking to school and unsightly sand pits that destroy its nature and potential for tourism.

Like Gandhi, we believe that "The earth has enough resources for our need, but not for our greed."

The Coalition is lodging an appeal against the regrettable decisions of the Municipality. The appeals will be lodged with the Executive Mayor of Swartland Municipality during March 2017 by Adv Martin Coetzee. Please sign this petition urging them to reverse their permission for sand mining on the Paardeberg.


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In association with the Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative, a non-profit organisation mainly focusing on sustainable development and promoting methods to conserve the natural ecological biosphere of our wonderful and rare Cape Floristic Region, we aim to preserve our natural heritage. Learn more about the PSI and their initiatives: https://www.facebook.com/www.psiprojects.co.za/

Statement from VinPro and Wines of South Africa: " Sand mining poses risk to wine and tourism industries"

Article in Drinks Business: "Sadie ‘gobsmacked’ as Swartland opens door to sandmining"https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2017/02/eben-sad...

Article in Die Burger reporting on the Vinpro statement and the issues

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