It is now September 2017, and the losses associated with the 4x4 ban have not been addressed by the local Authorities. Problem is that there are too many local authorities, and some are more equal than others. The IWPA or iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority is apparently in charge of our local beaches, and as such they are the ones who would issue permits to access the Elephant Coast beaches, but this management team is anti domestic tourists.
The IWPA are currently in the process of removing ablution blocks and the Cassurina trees at the St. Lucia Estuary Mouth, which have served the tourism industry very well. These ablution facilities are not damaged or in bad condition, and I can see no reason why they are being removed. In my opinion it is just to make things UNCOMFORTABLE for domestic tourists, especially fisher folks who are the primary users of these very well used and appreciated facilities.
The IWPA or iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority is the government appointed organization (organ of state) that is in place to look after the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park World Heritage Site, that was renamed to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, due to the Island Of St. Lucia in the Caribbeans also having a world heritage site.
I am still doing some catch-up and looking for records of public participation process meetings discussing these very disturbing changes that the IWPA is putting in place. the Zululand Observer our local news paper reported on this (http://zululandobserver.co.za/153111/demolition-works-st-lucias-estuary-beach/ ) and that is the first that we as residents of St. Lucia heard about this rather disturbing news.
These works by the IWPA are causing concern among the local residents, and those on the other side of the river are asking strange questions, as they have not been consulted or informed. The issue of removing the dredger spoil ( http://zululandobserver.co.za/110974/st-lucia-estuary-restoration-underway/) has been just as confusing, with many asking me if there was a harbor being built, coz they have heard stories of development at the mouth with big machines and lots of sand being moved in a place where they believe a harbor will be beneficial to our community.
The divide between the haves and the have nots here in St. Lucia, along the Elephant Coast of KZN South Africa is every evident, and the estuary divides these two very different communities. The haves (in this case mostly white folks) run the tourism industry on the east side of the estuary, and the Have nots live on the west side of the St. Lucia Estuary. The East side is well built up and has numerous hotels, B&Bs, lodges, restaurants and other hospitality establishments, but the west side is very rural and developed in a haphazard African style village development system that is cross bred with western influences making this a very unique and rather interesting housing arrangement.
That being said, these are the folks that lost the most when the 4x4 ban was implemented, coz the passing traffic, which they relied on for sales of arts and crafts just dried up and became history. Today, 15 years later, these folks are still battling , and the authorities are looking the other way. The Mtubatuba Local Municipality has an IDP or Integrated Development Plan in place, which is updated annually, and reviewed every 5 years. Problem is how ever that the IWPA or iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, under the leadership of #UNCLEANDREW (read Andrew Zaloumis) is not willing to deal with the issue at local municipal level, and he has used the world heritage status of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park as a tool to bully the Mtubatuba local municipality officials. Now that Andrew Zaloumis as CEO of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority is no longer present , read here for why http://zululandobserver.co.za/152546/breaking-andrew-zaloumis-steps-ceo-isimangaliso-wetland-park/ , we may have a chance to get things noticed…. Just maybe….
I will be taking this issue and many related tourism issues to the Mtubatuba IDP in the near future. For me to have any success at the Mtubatuba IDP I will need to have a mandate from the public, requesting me to take up these issues. So the ARBU or Association of Recreational Beach Users has put up a petition with AVAAZ (https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Address_the_issues_of_the_4x4_ban_and_the_economic_losses_associataed_with_the_absense_of_the_recreational_beach_users/ )
Thanx for reading here. Please share this further to your social media networks so that we may get some attention to these problems.
Enjoy and take care.