It's not news that the Waterberg isn't the only area of the country facing a variety of property development proposals (including mining). In the case of the Waterberg, the collective impact of such developments will all too easily, and dramatically, change the very nature of the region. Gauteng residents have similar concerns and they have taken an important step by creating Just Environmental Action (JEA).
You'll see in its press release below that JEA is not proclaiming itself against development, but rather is.advocating sensitive planning and appropriate development. New citizens body for environmentally sensitive development in Gauteng. A new umbrella body to provide collective clout to concerned residents, ratepayer associations and nature conservancies in their fight for sensitive planning and appropriate development in Gauteng, has been launched.
Just Environmental Action (JEA) is a combined voice for nature conservancies, concerned residents and ratepayer associations in their efforts to ensure more effective citizen involvement in correcting the current imbalance between good conservation practice, integrated planning and appropriate development. It was launched after a series of meetings between resident and conservation activists.
Says chairperson Kristin Kallesen: "The pressure on and destruction of the environment caused by inappropriate development combined with often questionable approvals given by Government departments need to be countered by a broad spectrum of concerned organisations and individuals.
"We need to give a voice to individuals and areas that are under threat, supporting them through an informed, welladvised and experienced cooperative. That's the purpose of JEA."
JEA is developing lobbying tools that could help member organizations in their lobbying and protest actions. "An example is a standard Complaints Form which will be used to log complaints against unresponsive officials, noncompliant developers and local authorities that fail to meet their responsibilities so that a paper trail is created which can be used in the media or for possible court action," says Mary Lewis of Klipkop Conservancy, JEA's secretary.
"We are in possession of many examples of dodgy developments across the Province," says Kallesen. "Submissions and objections of residents are often ignored by the authorities and in the worst cases, objectors are threatened with court action by developers. In the meantime many inappropriate developments are continuing at speed, creating irreversible destruction. It is time to join forces and stand up for our rights and for those of the environment we hold in trust for future generations."