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Transkei, South Africa: Community Tourism Development

By – James Mardall, 0285981


Due Date – November 26, 2004

This paper will examine Amadiba Adventures, a multi stakeholder tourism


project in the Transkei, South Africa. Many development agencies believe
Amadiba Adventures is a groundbreaking community based tourism project in
South Africa.

• Tourism and Poverty Alleviation in South Africa…

According to the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO),


“The phenomenal rise of tourism over the past fifty years is one of the most
notable economic and social developments during this period. Its sustained
growth rate (worldwide) of around 7 per cent has been higher than that of
other traditional economic sectors such as heavy industries, automobiles,
agriculture, or the petrochemical industry.” (WTO 2, 2003, pp.1)

According to the WTO, tourism is an important export for developing countries


and Lesser Developed Countries (LDC’s). The WTO, rank tourism as the most
significant foreign export earner in the world, after petroleum products. In
order to spread the development benefits of tourism to the poorest members
of LDC’s, the WTO encourage a multi stakeholder approach. To this end, they
suggest that the Government Sector, Private sector, Poor (Society), Civil
Society and Donors form tourism partnerships as a way to alleviate poverty.
(WTO 1, 2002)

The WTO, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the European
Union (EU) all encourage sustainable tourism development, which focuses on
ecological, social and economic factors. South Africa are an active member of

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the WTO and the UN and accept aid from the EU. According to the Secretary
General of the WTO, the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa, afforded the tourism sector a
predominant position. However, the WTO has criticized South Africa for not
having an integrated national tourism development plan that builds on
sustainability principles. (WTO 2, 2003) This could however be attributed to
the legacy of South Africa’s particular development paradigm.

• Africa, South Africa, Eastern Cape, Transkei, Pondoland…

South Africa is a country of development extremes, with highly developed


infrastructure and cities, surrounding areas of extreme underdevelopment and
poverty. As illustrated by Figure 1 in the Appendices, South Africa socially
engineered a landscape of ethnic segregation (apartheid) during the 1948 –
1990 period of white Afrikaaner, National Party rule. Black tribes were confined
to autonomously administered areas called “independent tribal homelands”
(See Figure 1 in the Appendices).

These homelands were not included in the South African national fiscal
budgets or development programs during apartheid and as a result were very
poorly developed at its conclusion. The post-apartheid African National
Congress (ANC) led government, reintegrated these homelands into South
Africa geographically, fiscally and developmentally. One of these former
homelands, The Transkei, is now part of the Eastern Cape province It is the
ancestral home ground of the Xhosa speaking AmaPondo tribe who mainly
reside in an area known as Pondoland. It is in this region that the tourism
project known as Amadiba Adventures is based (See Figure 2 in the
Appendices).

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Economically…

The Eastern Cape is one of the poorest provinces in South Africa with the
second lowest contribution to national GDP, the second lowest GDP per capita
and the third lowest provincial Human Development Index (See Table 1 in the
Appendices). The Eastern Cape has minimal infrastructure, apart from the
main towns, and by comparison to the other eight provinces has
underdeveloped agricultural, industrial and service sectors. (Statistics South
Africa, 1999)

Certain investment projects are currently being mooted in the Transkei area,
notably the mining of mineral deposits in the dunes along the Pondoland
coastline. However, this has the potential to render the area unsuitable for
tourism and has a projected project lifespan of only ten years. The project will
foreseeably contribute a larger income to the Eastern Cape government during
this period than tourism currently does. However the Eastern Cape
government has not invested significant amounts of capital toward tourism
promotion, whereas they have invested heavily in the proposed mining
project. (Enslin. S, 2003)

Environmentally…

By ratifying the international Biodiversity Convention, South Africa has taken


local responsibility for its own biodiversity conservation, which is significant
with respect to the Pondoland region, as a number of species are uniquely
endemic to this region. (Enslin. S, 2003) Pondoland is characterized by cliff-
faces rising from the warm Indian Ocean and waterfalls flowing directly into
the oceans from the cliff tops (See Figure 3 in the Appendices). From these
cliff tops dolphins and whales are often observed relatively close inshore.

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According to the mail and Guardian newspaper, “The diversity is mind-


boggling: in one area merely 3 260ha in extent, more than 1 300 vascular
plants have been recorded. In the whole of the Kruger National Park (two
million hectares) there are 1 400 plant species, comparable to all the plants in
Great Britain (308 000 square kilometres) at 1 440 plant species.” (M&G 1,
2003)

The regions forests are also an important habitat for a number of fauna such
as the rare Cape parrot as well as forest spotted thrushes and mangrove
kingfishers. The habitat also supports rare mammals such as samango
monkeys, tree dassies, giant golden moles and blue duikers. And there are a
number of rare and endemic butterflies. (M&G 1, 2003)

Pondoland soils have are not considered to have good agricultural potential
and are referred to as, “weakly developed, shallow, highly leached and acidic,
with a low moisture holding capacity” by the Mail and Guardian (M&G 1,
2003). The AmaPondo rely on the local ecology to provide grazing for their
cattle and subsistence level agriculture, over utilisation of the resources for
this purpose often result in soil erosion, however.

The Indian Ocean currents that travel along the Pondoland Coastline have a
low nutrient content and are unable to support major commercial fisheries.
The area is however, well known to recreational fishermen and provides a
livelihood option for the AmaPondo at a subsistence level. (M&G 1, 2003)

Politically…

According to Groenewald and as observed by the Author, the tourism industry


(as were many South African industries), was previously dominated by white
business people. However, the modern tourism industry has become a more
inclusive industry, strongly motivated by the ANC led governments affirmative
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action policies. Tourism is an area in which black economic empowerment


(BEE) has not been a rigorously monitored, however, and by comparison to
other sectors of the economy has historically received less political interest.
This has led to a skewing of the distributive benefits of tourism and has meant
that those who need the most support typically receive the least.

One of Groenewald’s strongest criticisms is that, “ Most of these black-owned


companies are huge corporations, however, whereas ordinary people, who so
desperately need the benefits of tourism, have been surviving on the small
crumbs that sometimes come their way.” (Groenewald. Y, 2004)

Socially

The AmaPondo people (as quoted in the Mail and Guardian) are well aware of
their social situation, “Our people are the poorest of the poor. They are mostly
subsistence farmers… About 80% of our people are illiterate and the
community's income comes mostly from a few migrant workers who toil on the
mines or in the KwaZulu Natal sugar plantations, and from government
pensions. When I was at school, I left home at 3am to arrive on time. There is
no clinic in the area - one has to walk 40km there and back. Our people still
honour the old culture, and initiation processes and traditional dances are still
very popular." says Velaphi Ndovela, a Pondoland local. (M&G 2, 2003)

Pondoland has a history of migrant labour (as do many of the former


homelands). As a result, the demographic profiles of the area are skewed
toward the old, women and children. Much of the income in the area is either
from remittances or social welfare grants. Recently, as South Africa has
struggled to find its place in the world economy after decades of sanctions,
many of the migrant labourers have lost their jobs and returned to the
Pondoland area.

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This has in effect reduced the livelihood diversity in the area and forced the
AmaPondo to rely on subsistence agriculture and the local economy to a much
greater degree. According to the Mail and Guardian, “…People still plough with
oxen, and cattle are still the major measure of a man's wealth.” (M&G 2,
2003)

As a way to alleviate poverty, the Reconstruction and Development


committees formed by the ANC government, encouraged the AmaPondo to
invite big business into the area. As quoted in the Mail and Guardian, “…They
came and spoke to us (in 1994) about game lodges and hotels.” (M&G 2,
2003) Having previously been exposed to the false promises of ‘big business’
tourism, the AmaPondo have become distrustful of them. As quoted in the Mail
and Guardian, "The Amakhosi (Chiefs) are still the custodians of our land and
while people were happy to hear about development, their next question was
what was going to happen to our land. The only example we had of tourism
was the Wild Coast Sun (a multinational hotel group), where our people lost
their land and became servants to the tourists." (M&G 2, 2003)

As a result, the tourism industry in the region has remained largely unchanged
apart from one interesting development.

• Amadiba Adventures…

The formation of Amadiba Adventures has an air of fiction about it, and the
truth, is that the development of Amadiba Adventures has been a slow and
painstaking process. But through personal affiliations, the author can attest to
the fact that the origins of the story are factual. As quoted in the Mail and
Guardian article, A ride through real Africa, "One day, Wonderful [the current
chairperson of the Amadiba Coastal Development Association] met an
imbamba (Wanderer/Hiker) and started talking to him. They ended up talking
about development. The imbamba said our area was one of the most beautiful
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he had hiked in and we could make money from hikers. We consulted the
government officials about the idea and they were not enthusiastic. So we
decided to invite this man to come and talk to us. He said we did not have to
lose our land and we did not have to build any hotels. He was working for
PondoCrop and all he did was brief us and leave. About six months later, our
committee decided to invite PondoCrop to talk about the real issues involved in
setting up a hiking business." (M&G 2, 2003)

With assistance from PondoCrop, a local NGO (working in partnership with the
EU), the Amadiba community opened horse and hiking trails that attracted
both local and international tourists to the region throughout the year (See
Figure 4 in the Appendices). According to Enslin the EU has allocated
substantial funding toward the project (€13 million Euro’s (R111.8 million))
and is using local tourism ventures to uplift the local communities. (Enslin. S,
2003)

Amadiba Horse Trails became one of South Africa's first tourism initiatives to
be entirely owned and run by an indigenous community. The community offers
basic accommodation built by the AmaPondo community and derives the direct
benefits of tourism receipts. “The trails have become a big hit with foreigners
over the past few years”, According to Groenewald, “About 500 people benefit
from the trails”. (Groenewald. Y, 2004)

Originally the AmaPondo were wary of the idea and refused to sign attendance
registers at meetings with PondoCrop, believing that they would lose their land
if they did. But as reported by the Mail and Guardian, "Now the project works
beautifully. We use only our natural resources and existing facilities to service
our tourists. The people at the homesteads set up campsites for our groups
and dismantle them when they leave.” (M&G 2, 2003)

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This development has not been without controversy from government, as


reported in the Mail and Guardian, "The government officials still don't
understand what we are doing here. They complain they don't see big houses
and cars that we have bought with the money we make, which is their way of
measuring progress. Our idea of business is not to make a few people rich, but
to add to what people already have, to change their lives. When people have
enough money to send their children to school, they change the lives of the
next few generations. We have used the money in the community trust fund to
build a dip for cattle, we have added two classrooms to an existing school and
we are building another school." (M&G 2, 2003)

Not only has Amadiba Adventures uplifted the local community, the trust fund
that Amadiba Adventures set up, directs 5% of the profits toward community
development. It has also provided a diversified livelihood strategy to the local
AmaPondo who are involved in the project. The AmaPondo provide
accommodation, guides, horses, meals and other tourism services to the
foreign and local tourists in return for a share of the payments received. While
at the same time being able to continue with their other livelihood strategies,
because they no longer have to seek an income outside of their own area.
(M&G 2, 2003) (IDS 1, Ntshona. Z and Lahiff. E, (2003))

With respect to criticisms directed at the low level of impact the project is
having on the development of the AmaPondo community. According to Mike
Haynes, (the programme development officer for the EU's Wild Coast
Community Tourism Initiative), as reported in the Mail and Guardian, "Most of
the money generated from community ecotourism projects remains in the
area. Although the income is modest, it is distributed fairly widely." (M&G 2,
2003)

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• Amadiba Adventures a critical Revue:

The main issues in the planning of this case have been well researched and
documented in the Institute of Development Studies Report by Ntshona and
Lahiff (IDS 1, Ntshona. Z and Lahiff. E, (2003)).

Their study reveals the following key findings:

o The AmaPondo are capable of combining and sustaining tourism


activities with other livelihood activities.
o The interface between the formal tourism and informal tour operation
requires:
 Ongoing training
 Supervision (from NGO’s)
 Pre-negotiated realistic reward structures
o External organizations have a key role to play with respect to
identification and initiation of community tourism.
o The informal, ongoing and open ended nature of the relationship
between the community and NGO’s is important for project success.
o The interests of the community and the organizations assisting them
need to have clear and transparent goals and interests.
o Excessively tight deadlines and unrealistic goals can stifle project
progress.
o The flow of income can become contentious if it is not done openly and
transparently.
o Community control is not well represented with a strongly centralized
power structure.
o But, in some cases a core of well skilled tourism professionals can be a
key asset.

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o Skilling can lead to tension if individual community members perceive


the differences in work or pay to be unfair.
o Trial and error or Adaptive management (evolutionary) techniques are
essential for project progression.
o Successfully operating a project in an area can provide experience and
an anchor for other project initiations that do not need to be associated
directly with one another.
o Community members seem to value personally derived benefits over
indirect community benefits that do not contribute directly to community
livelihoods.
o Central control of funds and funding can lead to misuse or non-
appropriate spending.
o External donor funding can distort organic growth and expand
organizational overheads.
o The growth of self generated revenues are preferable and must be
encouraged.
(IDS 1, Ntshona. Z and Lahiff. E, (2003)).

• The Tourists:

Coast to Coast, the Backpackers Guide to South Africa, have the following to
say about Amadiba Adventures and AmaPondo Trails, “If there’s only one thing
you do in South Africa, make this it!” and “Fantastic community owned and
operated horse trails.” (Coast to Coast, (2004))

The type of tourism offered is characterized as being ‘off the beaten track’,
‘remote’, ‘spectacular, and ‘untouched’. (Coast to Coast, (2004)) And
According to PondoCrop the aim of the venture is, “To introduce a particular
type of tourist to the region – someone who was genuinely interested in
meeting the people (See Figure 5 in the Appendices) and learning from them,

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in coming to understand the environment and history of the region, and in


leaving spiritually and culturally enriched.

For the local people, it creates an opportunity to participate in all aspects of


tourism, from planning and implementation to operation and management. It
presents an alternative to large scale investor driven development where large
resorts monopolise the benefits from the influx of tourists to their region.”
(IDS 1, Ntshona. Z and Lahiff. E, (2003). pp. 3).

To get a feel for the type of tourist engaging in the community based tourism
offered by the AmaPondo, it is insightful to read the following paraphrased
interview as reported by the Mail and Guardian in 2003;

“Yibin Chen, a medical student from Boston in the United States, is


about to embark on a six-day horseback trail before heading back to
Harvard University for his graduation… "I loved Cape Town, it was
beautiful and the people were very friendly. But it could have been a
city in any country. Whenever I asked people to take me out to the
places where they hang out, they took me to places like the
Waterfront and nightclubs that look just like the ones at home," Chen
says. "I began to feel that I was never going to see Africa. So I took a
township tour with a group of German tourists. It was terrible! "All the
tourists did was jump out of the minibus every time it stopped to take
a photo, then they got back in. They did not speak to anyone to find
out more about the place they had just seen. So I began to feel like I
was just intruding on people's lives and not really getting to know
them. "I really wanted to see what African life was like, so I found a
backpackers' guidebook that recommended Amadiba Adventures as
the best way of experiencing traditional life. I'm also excited because
I've never been on a horse in my life."Like all the other Amadiba
adventurers, Chen has to pack enough for six days in two small
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saddlebags. His dental floss fits in, but there isn't enough space for his
hair gel. "What do I do? I want to look good for these people. I've
been wanting to meet them for a long time," he says.Out comes a pair
of jeans, making space for more toiletries in his saddlebag. Bags slung
over his shoulder, he sets off down the beach with five French tourists,
two guides and a trainee guide. He asks Mxhuma a seemingly
inexhaustible list of questions. Chen has found "the real Africa" and he
is incredibly happy. But he isn't saddle-sore yet, Mxhuma points out
with a broad smile.” (M&G 2, 2003)

Thus, the kinds of tourists that are best suited for, and attracted to these kinds
of community based ventures, as reported above and confirmed by Ntshona
and Lahiff are those kinds of tourists that seek a genuine interaction with a
traditional rural community. (IDS 1, Ntshona. Z and Lahiff. E, (2003).

• The Future of Amadiba Adventures:

In multi stakeholder Tourism, support from NGO’s and other outside


organisations is crucial for the success of community based tourism ventures.
However it is the communities themselves who need to take ownership of the
operation of these ventures. Hand-outs from exclusive lodges do not seem to
offer the same level of benefits, or a real augmentation to their livelihoods.

Because this is foreign to investors and developers who are used to the idea of
controlling the tourism venture, community based tourism presents its own set
of unique development challenges. As pointed out by Groenewald, “Many tour
operators may be put off by the host of challenges: community in-fighting, the
financial risk, political interference in business decisions, as well their own lack
of experience. (Groenewald. Y, 2004)

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However as in the case of the AmaPondo community, the very real benefits of
direct participation in the Amadiba Adventures community tourism venture,
have generated enthusiastic participation from the community that must be
sustained to guarantee ongoing success.
References:

Coast to Coast, (2004), The Backpackers Guide to South Africa, The Wild Coast,
http://www.coastingafrica.com/Region.asp?RegionID=7&Level=2, Site Accessed November
2004.

Enslin. S, 2003, Mines and Communities Website, Tug of War Rages over mine toll road, from
the South African Press Association,
http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Action/press168.htm, Site Accessed November
2004.

EU 1, 2002, Europe: Gateway to the European Union, the Courier ACP-EU n° 195 november –
december Country Report: The Amadiba Adventure,
http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/publications/courier/courier195/en/en_082.
pdf, Site Accessed November 2004.

Groenewald. Y, 2004, Who owns tourism? As published in - The Mail and Guardian Online
30 November 2004,
http://archive.mg.co.za/nxt/gateway.dll/PrintEdition/MGP2004/3lv00000/4lv00001/5lv000
36.htm?f=templates$fn=document-frameset.htm$q=who%20owns
%20tourism$x=Advanced#LPHit0, Site Accessed November 2004.

IDS 1, Ntshona. Z and Lahiff. E, (2003), ‘Community-based eco-tourism on the Wild


Coast, South Africa: the case of the Amadiba Trail’, Sustainable Livelihoods in Southern
Africa Research Paper 7, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton,
http://www.ids.ac.uk/ids/env/PDFs/wRP07.pdf, Site Accessed November 2004.

M&G 1, 2003, The Mail and Guardian - Pondoland paradise in the pipeline, Date: 27 May 2003
http://archive.mg.co.za/nxt/gateway.dll/DailyNews/MGO2003/3lv06540/4lv06668/5lv0669
6.htm, Site Accessed November 2004.

EDRD 4010: Transkei Coastal Community Development Student: James Mardall – 0285981
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M&G 2, 2003, The Mail and Guardian - A ride through real Africa, Date: 02 Jun 2003,
http://archive.mg.co.za/nxt/gateway.dll/DailyNews/MGO2003/3lv05516/4lv06481/5lv0648
2.htm, Site Accessed November 2004.

Reid. D, Mair. H, 2003, Tourism Planning in the Less Developed World, EDRD*4010, Course
Manual, University of Guelph.

Reid. D, Mair. H, George. W, Taylor. J, 2001, Tourism Planning in the Less Developed World,
EDRD*4010, Tourism Planning Guide, OATI Guelph Ontario.

Statistics South Africa, 1999, Provincial Profile 1999 – Eastern Cape, Report No. 00-91-02
(1999), http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Report-00-91-02/Report-00-91-
021999.pdf, Site Accessed November 2004.

UNEP 1, 2002, United Nations Environment Program, Production and Consumption Branch,
Tourism, Sustainable Tourism, http://www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/sust-tourism/, Site
Accessed November 2004.

WTO 1, 2002, World Tourism Organization, WTO Commission for Africa, Publications, Tourism
and Poverty Alleviation, http://www.world-tourism.org/regional/africa/menu.htm, Site
Accessed November 2004.

WTO 2, 2003, World Tourism Organization, WTO Commission for Africa, Publications, WTO in
Africa 1996-2003, http://www.world-tourism.org/regional/africa/menu.htm, Site Accessed
November 2004.

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Appendices – Figures, Tables and Articles:

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• Figure 1: The South African Apartheid period homelands. (Showing the Transkei on the South
East Coast). From - http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/africa/south_african_homelands.gif,

• F
i
g
u
r
e

2: The Transkei on the South East Coast (Called Madiba Country). From -
http://www.wildcoast.org.za/wc/maps/11.xml,

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• Figure 3: Photographs of landscape along the Amadiba Horse Trails (Pondoland Coast). From -
http://www.wildcoast.org.za/wc/33.xml,

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• Figure 4: Photographs of tourists on the Amadiba Horse Trails (Pondoland Coast). From
-http://www.wildcoast.org.za/wc/33.xml,

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• Figure 5: Photographs of locals working with the Amadiba Horse Trails (Pondoland Coast).
From - http://www.wildcoast.org.za/wc/33.xml,

Tables:

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Table 1: The South African Human Development Index, by Province (1996) From -
http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Report-00-91-02/Report-00-91-021999.pdf, pp. 58.

Table 2: The South African Human GDP 1991 & 1996, by Province. From -
http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Report-00-91-02/Report-00-91-021999.pdf, pp. 59.

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Articles:

Article 1: Environmental Concerns (Enslin. S, 2003)

Ecotourism clashes with industrialization, July 7, 2003, By Samantha


Enslin, South African Press Association

The Amadiba Coastal Community at Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape are caught in a
tug-of-war between an Australian company, Mineral Commodities, which is
planning to mine in the area, and environmentalists who are opposed to both the
coastal dune mining and the N2 toll road, which will cut through the area.

Velaphi Ndovela, a member of the Amadiba Coastal Community Trust, which is


situated in Pondoland, said that to reach a decision on whether to support the
mine and road would be a long process in which five villages and two imbizos
(gatherings) would be needed. The land on which this 500 homestead community
engage in subsistence farming and ecotourism is state land and Ndovela
conceded that their decision might have little influence on the final outcome.

But for the long-term sustainable development of the area crucial questions need
to be answered before mining on the coastal dunes of Xolobeni is given the green
light. One of these is whether the dunes can be rehabilitated after mining.
Mineral Commodities, which is listed on the Australian stock exchange, is
prospecting along 22km of coastline for titanium minerals for export. The mining
operation, if given the go-ahead, will have a lifespan of 17 years. The company
has estimated the deposit contains in excess of 16 million tons of heavy minerals
and 8 million tons of ilmenite.

Current ecotourism initiatives such as horse trails and fly-fishing tours run by the
Amadiba Coastal Community Trust employ 100 people and generate annual
turnover of about R600 000. These initiatives take place in some of the areas

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where the mining is proposed, which will be in five blocks along the coast divided
by five river estuaries.

Ndovela said: "From the trust's perspective, we are worried about these
developments and don't think they can go hand-in-hand with ecotourism.
Although jobs will be created during construction, we will lose land to big
developments."There is concern that large-scale developments along the horse
trails' route will kill ecotourism, which many consider to be more sustainable than
mining.

Alan Luscombe, the chief executive of Mineral Commodities, said the Xolobeni
Mineral Sands Project was situated in one of the most impoverished areas in
South Africa. The socioeconomic affects of the project related to employment,
training, health, infrastructure development and the upgrading or construction of
amenities. On site, 100 permanent jobs would be created and a further 170
positions at the smelter in East London. But this is only for the lifespan of the
mine.

What will the community be left with afterwards? Will it be possible to resuscitate
ecotourism initiatives or will the community inherit a barren wasteland? A former
environmental representative for the department of agriculture and forestry said
the difficulty in rehabilitating the dunes was due to the nature of the deposit,
which lines the fines-rich Berea Formation. Fines are silts and clays. Such
deposits required that waste be stored in slime dams to produce dumps like those
on the Witwatersrand. Unlike gold mine dumps, methods to satisfactorily
revegetate silts and clays in the Berea Formation had not been found, he said.

Luscombe disagreed. He said wet-mineral separation removed the fines and the
heavy minerals from the sand in a two-stage process. Only 6 percent of the sand
tonnage was removed as concentrate, the remaining 94 percent of fines and sand
were combined and returned to the mining excavation. Except for an initial
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storage area, which was required for the fines and sand until the mining area was
sufficiently advanced to allow them to be replaced, no ongoing dumps or dams
were needed, Luscombe said
"Rehabilitation of sand dunes includes correctly mixing the fines and the sand,
contouring the dunes to resist wind erosion, replacing top soil removed prior to
the mining and stabilising the dune by plantings and other protective measures,"
he said. "Mineral Commodities has also tested the Xolobeni fine and is satisfied
they can be settled to a density suitable for mixing with non-valuable sand."The
particular methodology will be determined during the feasibility study."

Another concern is the mining company may be planning to plant the exotic but
invasive Casuarina to stabilise the dunes after mining. This will be adjacent to a
180 000ha conservation hotspot identified by Conservation International. This
means that the area, which has 120 endemic plant species, is recognised as rich
in biodiversity and vulnerable.

The N2 toll road is another bugbear for environmentalists who believe its upgrade
and the construction of a new section, which will bypass its existing route through
Kokstad and instead run the length of the coast, will serve the mine. Both Mineral
Commodities and the department of environmental affairs and tourism denied the
road was linked to the mine.

Tony Abbott, a botanist who has lived and worked in the area for 20 years, said
the Pondoland Centre of Plant Endomism was one of only 235 centres worldwide.
"When you have a conservation hotspot you have to think long and hard about
any big developments such as a mine or a road near it."

The department of environmental affairs and tourism said it did not anticipate the
loss of any species would be a direct result of the construction of the N2 Wild
Coast Toll Road. But this could happen as a result of adjacent developments.

EDRD 4010: Transkei Coastal Community Development Student: James Mardall – 0285981
24

Cathy Kay, the conservation director of the Wildlife and Environment Society of
SA, said: "People that I spoke to in Pondoland do not seem to realise that they
are going to lose their land. When we walked the proposed route of the road, we
saw it goes right through people's houses and mielie fields." The road will be
fenced and this means the community, which does not have easy access to
transport, will have to walk many extra kilometres to access rivers and the sea.
This is despite the fact that the mining company will only mine from 600m inland
from the coast and 200m inland from the five river estuaries.

One environmentalist said the proposed road would have an unrestricted view of
a succession of barren windswept and dusty mine dumps for nearly 25km once
the deposit had been exhausted. "Furthermore the only way the Xolobeni deposit
can be profitably mined is if the road serving the mine is not paid for by the
mining company," he said.

Luscombe said it would be foolish for the company to base its plans on a road
that might or might not happen. "Without considering the N2, our financial
modelling as well as a desktop valuation by a third party demonstrate the project
is viable. Transport is a significant cost of the project and alternatives to reduce
the cost will be evaluated. Publication of cost estimates is premature at this
stage." Besides the environmental impact the concern was also about the social
and cultural pressures that the mine and road could bring. "The one thing the
Transkei has is the Wild Coast. If they destroy that, what marketable asset will
the local people have left?" Abbott said.

EDRD 4010: Transkei Coastal Community Development Student: James Mardall – 0285981