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Cablegate: South African Environment, Science, and Technology Monthly

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RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #2791/01 2200515
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080515Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1128
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
INFO RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 4674
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 9049
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 7198

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PRETORIA 002791

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES/PCI, OES/ENV, AND AF/S
DEPT PASS EPA/OIA,

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV SOCI ETRD SF
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY MONTHLY
BRIEFINGS, JULY 2007

PRETORIA 00002791 001.2 OF 003


1. (U) Summary: This is the South African Environment, Science and
Technology Monthly Briefings newsletter, July 2007, Volume 2, Number
4, prepared by the U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa.

Topics of the newsletter:
-- PREDATOR BREEDERS INSTITUTE LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST SA
GOVERNMENT
-- SOUTH AFRICA MUST FIGHT AGAINST THE "TERRIBLE TWINS" -
DESERTIFICATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE
-- TIRE MANUFACTURERS UNDERTAKE CO2 DECREASING INITIATIVES

-- EDUCATORS ENCOURAGED TO TEACH ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION TRHOUGH
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE

-- CADMIUM DETECTED IN EXPORT PINEAPPLES - INDUSTRY COULD LOSE JOBS
AND MILLIONS OF RAND

-- GIANT SA STEEL PRODUCER MAY FACE PROSECUTION FOR GROSS POLLUTION


-- MINISTER ADMITS THAT CRIME IS A THREAT TO TOURISM IN SA
-- SOUTHERN AFRICAN COUNTRIES DEVELOP AN ECOSYSTEM APPROACH TO
FISHERIES
End Summary.

PREDATOR BREEDERS INSTITUTE LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST SA GOVERNMENT
2. (U) The South African Predator Breeders Association (SAPBA) made
an urgent application to the Bloemfontein High Court against the
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's (DEAT)
Biodiversity Act, claiming the Act improperly imposed stricter
regulations on the hunting of captive raised animals or "canned
hunting". The South African government (SAG) and some animal
activists groups claim that this type of hunting is cruel and
unethical, which is what prompted the SAG to amend the law. The
predator breeders on the other hand argue that game hunting is an
important, legitimate and lucrative business which makes a
meaningful contribution to the economy. They asserted that
overseas-based prospective hunters are willing to pay up to $60,000
to shoot a lion.

3. (U) Leigh Fletcher of Sandhurst Safaris said Sandhurst is a
well-known brand and that the enforcement of the new regulations
would seriously harm their business and the industry. Since June 1,
prospective hunters have been hesitant to make hunting reservations,
leaving the breeders with too many lions, which are expensive to
maintain. According to SAPBA and some individual breeders, people
would lose jobs and business opportunities if the law were to be
enforced. Hunting farm owners claim they provide more jobs than the
local cattle farmers. They also say that local residents breed
donkeys that are subsequently sold to the farmers to feed the lions.
Breeders are requesting a court order to suspend the date of
implementation of the Biodiversity Act in relation to the lions, and
allow breeders to continue to breed lions under provincial
ordinances. The Act also requires the animals to have been released
into the wild at least 24 months prior to being hunted, to which
SAPBA is strongly opposed. The Act was intended to come into force
in June, but implementation has been rescheduled to February 2008 at
the request of some provincial environmental ministers.
SOUTH AFRICA MUST FIGHT AGAINST THE "TERRIBLE TWINS" -
DESERTIFICATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE
4. (U) Addressing a climate change and desertification conference in
Kwa-Zulu Natal in late June, Deputy Minister of Environmental
Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) Rejoice Mabudafhasi said that
desertification is a serious problem which threatens South Africa's
ecological integrity and the well-being of its people. Mabudafhasi
referred to desertification as "the terrible twin" of climate
change, which impacts severely on the poorest of the poor. The
Deputy Minister urged South Africans to establish projects to combat
the "scourge" of the terrible twins and warned that agricultural
production, energy, human health and water supply would be subjected
to great risks if intervention mechanisms were not put in place.
According to Mabudafhasi, DEAT has introduced eight pilot projects
under the Community Based Natural Resources Management Program in
the provinces of Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Limpopo. The
projects are designed to rehabilitate land and fight land
degradation at an estimated cost of $5.71 million.

TIRE MANUFACTURERS UNDERTAKE CO2 DECREASING INITIATIVES
5. (U) A tire manufacturing company in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
province (EC), Continental Tyres South Africa (CTSA) promotes and
supports initiatives to dispose of scrap tires in an environmentally
friendly way in South Africa. CTSA sends all of its waste products
and scrap tires to a cement brick manufacturing plant in Jeffrey's
Bay EC, where they are used to fuel cement furnaces. CSA Managing
Director Claudio Boeizio opines that it makes more sense for them to
recycle the scrap tires in a cement furnace than to dump them in

PRETORIA 00002791 002.2 OF 003


landfill sites, which CTSA has not done in the last six years. He
said that with the right government assistance and support, South
Africa's natural environment could be protected in a way that also
enhances manufacturing industries. A non profit -company
established by major industry stakeholders, SA Tire Recycling
Project is leading an initiative to impose a levy on vehicle tires,
in order to collect and dispose of scrap tires in an environmentally
friendly way.
6. (U) The CTSA MD said that his global parent company is in the
process of developing tires and other products designed to reduce
fuel consumption and traffic-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Product development is focused on optimizing tire rolling
resistance, tire pressure monitoring systems and engine control
units, thus decreasing fuel consumption. Boeizio stated that
calculations indicate that tires are under-inflated by 12 percent in
the US alone, which increases diesel fuel consumption by almost four
billion liters, generating over nine billion tons of CO2 which could
be avoided. Tire pressure monitoring systems can cut down
emissions significantly and help to fight global climate change.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has
published for comment draft waste tire regulations which are
expected to be enacted later this year.
EDUCATORS ENCOURAGED TO TEACH ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION TRHOUGH
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE
7. (U) The South African National Parks (SANP) cultural heritage and
indigenous knowledge manager Edgar Neluvhalni said that people
should be encouraged to understand more about indigenous knowledge
(IK), which will help them deal with environmental challenges.
Neluvhalni was addressing attendees to the World Environmental
Education Congress (WEEC) in Durban in early July. He said there
are many African people who still believe that learning about
agriculture and the environment from books is both boring and
foreign. However, his research shows that environmental knowledge
is not necessarily unique to the teachings of the western world.
For example, the parks manager found in his research that IK
included methods to treat and prevent contagious diseases.
8. (U) Prof. William Scott of the University of Bath said that many
environmental education researchers are still publishing their work
in specialist journals as opposed to mainstream publications
accessible to all people. He sees this as an opportunity for
environmental educators to "come in from the cold."
Presenting a different approach to environmental education, three
Danish schools organized six-day-long environmental programs for
children 7-14 years old. According to Prof. Bjarne Jensen of the
Danish University of Education, the children tackled real life
environmental issues. They were encouraged to imagine how they
wanted their communities to change, which resulted in a wave of
letters to village councils and newspapers requesting new play
grounds and stricter speed limits near schools. WEEC is exploring
ways to incorporate indigenous IK into the school curriculum,
treating agriculture, education, environment and health as the focal
points.
CADMIUM DETECTED IN EXPORT PINEAPPLES - INDUSTRY COULD LOSE JOBS AND
MILLIONS OF RAND
9. (U) Pineapple Association Chairman Allen Duncan said that traces
of the heavy metal cadmium were found in canned pineapples shipped
to Switzerland from South Africa. Cadmium content of 0.05 parts
per million was discovered in 100,000 tons of canned pineapples.
Pineapple farmers believe the cadmium originated in fertilizers
imported from China. According to Duncan, the industry normally
produces over 140,000 tons of pineapple per year, 80 percent of
which is exported. The industry can export only 40,000 tons this
year because of the contamination, forcing producers to look for
markets elsewhere. Meanwhile the situation poses a serious threat
to the pineapple industry where an estimated $10 million and over
2,500 jobs, mainly in rural areas, could be lost. Duncan said that
farmers will bring legal action against the country's largest
chemicals producer, Omnia Chemicals, and its subsidiary, Protea
Chemicals, which import Chinese fertilizers. The two companies were
sued for about $17 million two years ago for supplying contaminated
chicken feed.
GIANT SA STEEL PRODUCER MAY FACE PROSECUTION FOR GROSS POLLUTION
10. (U) The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT)
has produced a report revealing environmental law violations by the
giant steel company AcelorMittal in Gauteng province. The report is
the result of a May assessment by DEAT environmental management
inspectors (Green Scorpions). The inspectors found that
AcelorMittal was dumping hazardous waste in prohibited landfill
sites, thus polluting surface and groundwater with iron, oil, and
fluoride. DEAT Director of Enforcement Melissa Fourie said steps
would be taken against the company, possibly to include criminal
prosecution because of repeated violations in spite of several
warnings by authorities. Samson Mokoena of the local environmental
group Steel Valley Crisis Committee said that his organization is
pleased with DEAT's action. He noted that AcelorMittal had not
shown respect for the local population or the environment because it

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had ignored the pollution concerns they had raised. AcelorMittal
CEO Rick Reato said that, although he had not seen the Green
Scorpions report, the company would cooperate with authorities. He
noted that the company had spent over $65 million on environmental
projects in 2005 and 2006, and has committed over $142.85 million
for the next four years.

MINISTER ADMITS THAT CRIME IS A THREAT TO TOURISM IN SA
11. (U) Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Martinus Van
Schalkwyk has conceded that crime is a serious threat to tourism in
South Africa. He made the statement while addressing the Southern
African Association for the Conference Industry. He noted that
after value-for- money, safety and security is the second most
important factor for foreign tourists, according to a 2005 South
Africa Tourism (SAT) brand tracking survey. The SAT report revealed
that although the country was a favored tourist destination, 34
percent of people in the market cited fear of crime as a reason for
not visiting South Africa. This indicated crime was a serious
deterrent to potential visitors. Van Schalkwyk said that the
tourism industry is trying to increase the number of visitors to 10
million by 2010 (from 8.4 million in 2006), which will require
heightened efforts to protect tourists. He said that his department
is talking to the Safety and Security department about establishing
units within police stations to deal specifically with
tourism-related crimes.
SOUTHERN AFRICAN COUNTRIES DEVELOP AN ECOSYSTEM APPROACH TO
FISHERIES
12. (U) Angola, Namibia and South Africa have jointly put together a
plan to reduce the effect of commercial fishing fleets in Southern
Africa waters. The Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem plan
(BCLME) was released in Cape Town in late July, and is regarded by
experts as a practical way to implement an ecosystem approach to
fisheries (EAF). Recent studies in Southern African regional
fishing grounds have revealed risks to the environment and marine
resources, including an impact on seabirds, sharks and tuna through
the removal of fish they would normally feed on. Light and heavy
fishing gear also negatively affects vulnerable and slow breeding
species like sharks, turtles and sensitive sea life at the bottom of
the ocean. BCLME is aimed at protecting and managing marine
resources and the environment. The Chief Technical Advisor of BCLME
Dr Michael O'Toole said that the plan gives a clear and practical
strategy to implement an EAF.
13. (U) Meanwhile a representative of Worldwide Wildlife Fund of
South Africa (WWF) Samantha Peterson noted that, while stakeholders
have been willing to implement an EAF, they did not know how to do
it. Now the report "will help show how to turn willingness into
action". However, the implementation effort will require support
from all stakeholders in the fishing industry. The plan may also
require changes in fisheries regulations and create new governance
structures to allow effective participatory decision-making.
Minister of DEAT Marthinus Van Schalkwyk stated that government has
to exercise a delicate balancing act to ensure that fishing rights
are allocated in a sustainable way, in order to safe-guard the
survival of specific fisheries. He also noted that while
over-fishing remains a problem, fishing is the only source of income
for some people.
Bost

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