On the 3rd March the Appeals against the two consents given for sand mines on the Paardeberg were submitted to the Appeal Authority of the Swartland Municipality on behalf of 250 appellants (landowners, workers, others connected to the mountain) together with a petition of 3000 signatures. This is a remarkable response from the Paardeberg community.
The basis of the Appeal
Adv Martin Coetzee claims the consent given to be in breach of procedure on a number of counts and that it reveals inconsistencies, as well as unsubstantiated, biased and erroneous statements. He points to objections that were ignored or dismissed (as opinionated or unsubstantiated) one of which he regards a fatal flaw - namely the dismissal of the objection by the Department of Agriculture. Coetzee also claims the decision is not consistent with and in fact, in contradiction to the Spatial Development Frameworks and Integrated Development Plan of the Municipality, and that the land use deviation is in conflict with the surrounding land uses. He points out that the mines would have a substantial impact on the character of the surrounding area.
Coetzee shows that there is no evidence that the development will have a positive economic impact - not even to the land owner and mine operator . He further points to the overwhelming negative view of the Paardeberg community to the mines.
Overall he concludes that the applications should have been refused by the MPT since it in all instances will constitute a small, isolated non-feasible mining activity that is bound to neglect to implement the necessary environmental precautionary measures, proper, that must be discouraged in terms of the stated policy of the West Coast District Spatial Development Framework.
We wait to hear the outcome of these appeals. The Paardeberg Coalition will meet soon to evaluate events thus far and consider future actions. We will keep you posted.