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4x4 drivers face more restrictions

2004-11-12 22:18

Elise Tempelhoff

The 4x4 vehicle owners whose destruction of the country's beaches was stopped in its tracks but who are now doing the same in the mountains, will be taken to task soon, said Riaan Aucamp, spokesperson for Environmental Affairs Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, on Friday.

Aucamp said 4x4 owners who had taken their beach driving to Mozambique would be stopped there, too.

"Mozambicans are highly irritated by South Africans gallivanting on their beaches with 4x4s."

Van Schalkwyk had discussions recently with his Mozambican counterparts and legislation is in place there to get 4x4 drivers off their beaches.

Conservation expert Gerhard Verdoorn said on Friday that 4x4 owners had no right to South Africa's beaches and mountains.

"They have only a privilege, and that can be taken away from them at any time."

Verdoorn was reacting to a debate that ensued after his regular column in Beeld on November 6 under the headline: "No 4x4 driver has the right to damage nature".

'No place for humans'

Members of the Beach Action Committee of South Africa (Bacsa), especially, were highly critical of Verdoorn, saying he had only a narrow-minded viewpoint.

Thay said, also, he was one of the old school of conservationists who "assume they have the godly right to reign over every living thing in nature that moves and procreates".

They accused him of not granting humans any place at all in the ecology.

Verdoorn said that since 4x4 owners had been forbidden on the beaches, they had taken to the mountains.

"It is high time now that we take a stand in this regard."

The government will embark on a socio-economical impact study early in 2005 to establish what the real effect was on local communities by banning 4x4s on South Africa's beaches.

However, this does not mean the banning of 4x4s on beaches will be rescinded.

"As a matter of fact, the legislation could even be made stricter," it was said.

Bacsa says the legislation is strangling the economies of disadvantaged communities that live in coastal towns.


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