DAMAGING WESTERN CAPE BEACHES: The National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report states that coastal degradation was visible on Western C ape beaches and that illegal driving was to blame. Image: Shutterstock/ Nolte Lourens
ARMAND VAN AS
A study released by the National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report on Oct 8 2014 states that off-road vehicles, including quad bikes, are damaging Western Cape tourist "hot spots".
The study added: "The degradation of the coastal environment was clearly visible due illegal ORV driving, as well as the disturbance of the African black oyster-catcher, which uses the coastal area as its breeding habitat."
Wheels24 reader ARMAND VAN AS shares his views:
I am in the difficult position of being both an ardent conservationist, and an off-road adventurist. Due to these seemingly conflicting interests I, and I believe thousands of others like me, probably have a unique view of the so-called problem.
SAFEGUARD THE ENVIRONMENT
I fully agree that nobody has the right, or should be allowed, to wilfully destroy our country's environment, never mind their modus operandi, or the tolls they use to do so (ORVs in this instance). In the interests of sustainability, we have a responsibility to safeguard what we have today (the environment) for future generations to enjoy the same privileges.
On the other hand, I do not believe, and strongly oppose, the view that the rights and privileges of responsible citizens should be curtailed to prevent the activities of those of lessor integrity.
It is my opinion that the government institutes these measures (as with the ban on beach driving of 2001) in an attempt to, firstly, appear to be doing something, and secondly (and even more importantly) to draw focus away from its inability to do anything of value in addressing any of the serious issues facing our country (and obviously this is one of the most pressing).
Another factor that may disappear in the rest of the Media24 article is that fact that the task team that established to manage the "problem" managed to apprehend only three perpetrators in a year!
COST TO THE TAXPAYER
I wonder how much this task team cost the taxpayers for that year? These are the same taxpayers whose rights and privileges were casually cast aside by ill-considered legislation.
Please take a step back and view this scenario through a new set of glasses:
1 Government agencies (law enforcement) are unable to perform the duties for which they are paid
2 Government passes impractical blanket legislation
3 Government re-visits the issue and issues amendments
4 Taxpayers' rights are impeded
5 A task team is established
6 They, once again, fail to fully perform their duties
7 The same taxpayers who no longer have any RIGHTS (or say in the matter) at least have the PRIVILEGE to pay for this whole process.
As with many other issues in South Africa, it seems that MAKING laws has become vastly more important than ENFORCING them.
What makes me even sadder is that most of the population misses these points and focuses only on what is put in front of them.
A sad, sad situation indeed.
MORE READERS RESPOND
We received many emails from readers responding to the study. Some welcomed the ban and even called for heavier fines; others believed the ban on beach driving should be lifted.
Click here to read more readers' responses
Do you agree with the findings in the Necer report? What can be done to curb illegal driving? Should off-road enthusiasts should be allowed to drive on beaches? Email us your thoughts and we’ll publish them on Wheels24.