Monday, March 6, 2017

Frankie two socks steps back into the picture

The return of Frankie two socks

I have been out of the loop for some time, but after some rather serious begging from a few friends, have stepped back into the political struggle to get the 4X4 BAN investigated.  this is going to be a very serious battle between the public and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority.

sunrise at the beach
This political struggle will take place within the political structures and associated management platforms set up by the central goverenement to manage our world heritage sites in terms of the WHCA or World Heritage Convention Act.  One does have to remember that the political control of all spaces within South Africa is controlled by a vast array of interconnected laws, and no single law governs how municipalities are run and managed.  The MSA or Municipal Systems ACT needs to be evaluated, with the specific view of how the MSA and the WHCA interact and which authority takes precedence in what areas. 

There are many other areas where we will be attacking the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) and most of these eveolves around their ecologicaal managment plans, along with their associated public participation processes, especially those which over lap and intermingle with the manag,ment plans for the Mtubatuba municipality in terms of their IDP.  The IDP or Integrated Development Plan for the Mtubatuba local municipality is quite a lengthy process which involves extensive Public Participation Process Meetings., which the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority should be attending, as the many different laws all talk of intergovernmental co-operation, but the truth is these fellas, believe that they are a law unto them selves.

This thinking on the part of the IWPA that they can do as they please, is the first step, whuich needs to be attacked, and we need to put them in their place, ensuring that they follow the law, and do not have the law adjusted to suit their needs as an when required.  this will be my first step, and after that everybody will know that #frankie2socks is back in the mix oif things when it comes to tourism development and the recreational use of the Elepehant coast beaches.

Last night (sunday) I bumped into the CEO of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, but did not greet Uncle Andrew by the hand, as he was busy discussing some issues to a few journalists and governement folks in the parking between the Ski Boat Club and the board walk. So I left him in peace...

We will soon be argueing about the many different issues that impact on the fishing within lake St. Lucia, the ZSt. Lucia estuary system and th coastal zones within the iSimngaliso Wetland park.

watch this space for updates and progress reports on topurism issues, as well as PROJECT WORK





Friday, November 23, 2012

IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) and the UDMEMF (Umkhanyakude District Municipality Environmental Management Framework)

The many Projects that the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) are busy with within the IWPWHS (iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site) are very exciting and will lead to better enjoyment of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park by many. We appreciate these projects as they supply a constant employment stream for many of the Elephant Coast businesses and residents.

Problem is that these many projects are not integrated into the 5 local municipalities IDP's (Integrated Development Plans) and thus not properly reflected in the UDM IDP (Umkhanyakude District Municipality Integrated Development Plan) or EMF Environmental Management Framework)

Who to blame for this is a tough question, but it needs to be answered, and the responsible person needs to be taken to task and face a public disciplinary hearing. The person responsible for this terrible state of affairs that has caused many thousands within the Elephant Coast tourism region to loose their jobs, and many developers to have their developments torn down causing further economic losses needs to be removed from office.

The IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) manage the IWPWHS (iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site) on behalf of the world population, and are responsible to ensure that the world  public has access to relevant information about the IWP (iSimangaliso Wetland Park) and how the IWP is being managed.

The UDM (Umkhanyakude district Municipality) is currently busy with an EMF (Environmental Management Framework) planning exercise, but this EMF (Environmental Management Framework) somehow excludes the IWPA's  (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority's) projects. Unfortunately the IWPWHS (iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site) falls entirely within the UDM (Umkhanyakude district Municipalty) and the 5 local municipalities of
  1. Umhlabuyalingana
  2. Big 5 False Bay
  3. Jozini
  4. Hlabisa
  5. Mtubatuba     linked info courtesy of www.mtuba4u.co.za   
    Now the fact that the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) has not played their part in the 5 local municipalities IDP PRF (Integrated Development Plan Public Representatives Forum)  and failed to have their (IWPA - iSimangaliso  Wetland Park Authority) zoning maps and development projects included makes it very difficult for developers to know where they may develop, and what type of developments are suitable for which areas. this has lead to many developers losing their entire investments and a case in point is this one.

    Once again who is responsible and who should be fired?

    I am personally of the opinion that there are two (2) candidates 1) is the CEO of the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) and 2) The minister of Environmental Affairs  who was mandated to Appoint the CEO of the IWPA by the WHCA (World Heritage Convention Act) 

    The UDM EMF (Umkhanyakude District Municipality Environmental Management Framework) will give us the tools to high light these issues and push for some action to be taken.

    The EIA for the Sodwana bay Redevelopment project will give us another tool to tackle this issue, and if we are successful in bringing both actions to the attention of the public at the same time we may achieve a little more success.



    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    iSimangaliso Wetland Park - Redevelopment of Sodwana Beach Node

    The IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority)  is busy with an EIA process to evaluate the  Redevelopment of Sodwana Beach Node. Will you take part in this process? to register as an IAP (Interested and affected party) for the iSimangaliso Wetland Park - Redevelopment of Sodwana Beach Node EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) visit the Accer (Africa) web site and register .

    If the registration form is not yet in place click on the contact details tab or open this link then fill in the form on the page and request to be registered as an IAP with this EIA

    I am not sure if this is GOOD or BAD for the area but am glad that a true EIA is being undertaken. Please register as an IAP if you live in the area or play along the coast. This area needs some serious public participation in its development and we do need to ensure that the recreational beach users concerns are well documented and listed as high priority concerns.

    the 4x4 ban has had the knock on effect of serious economic losses within the area, which have not been addressed. These same consultants ACCER (AFRICA) were involved in past research on these issues

    see these reports on related issues
    1) Occasional paper 20 by KZN Tourism
    2) Occasional paper 23 by KZN Tourism


    I hope to see you at a future PPPM (Public Participation Process Meeting ) where the true issues of the lost tourism income caused by the 4x4 ban and other related issues that impact on the Elephant Coast Domestic Tourism within the Sodwana region are discussed.

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Open letter to public at large - iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism - South Africa

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Frank Gainsford <admin@info4u.co.za>
    Date: Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM
    Subject: Re: Fw: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism - South Africa
    To: Louis Fourie <fouriesgarage@telkomsa.net>
    Cc: petrusviv@gmail.com, nelius.smith@gmail.com, Carine@certaintycharters.co.za, casper@actionpb.co.za, cor@ilandlures.co.za, helga.smith@momentum.co.za, "Henry P Badenhorst ()"@vodamail.co.za, johan@actgroup.co.za, johan@fishingproshop.co.za, yamaha@lantic.net, lutz.nell@agribonus.co.za, smal@aurecongroup.com, steve@sodwanabay.com, rorke@mags.co.za, admin@sadsaa.com, christel.raubenheimer@gmail.com, rothman@skyafrica.co.za, fherbst@menh.co.za, pdsac@hotmail.com, sodwanabay@mweb.co.za, sblsc@icon.co.za, lm@sodwanabaylodge.com, admin@coraldivers.co.za, info@reefteach.co.za, wegint@media24.com, andre@adayinafrica.co.za, info@adventuremania.co.za, info@amoraydiving.com, coraldivers@mweb.co.za, bluejuice@icon.co.za, Arthur@mako-diving.co.za, res@isibindi.co.za, francois@oceandivers.co.za, piscesdiving@webmail.co.za, Dive@seaescapes.co.za, info@twobar.co.za, tritondiving@mweb.co.za, info@occi-scuba.co.za, dave@zululanddiving.co.za, nemosodwana@vodamail.co.za, enquiries@safariadventure.co.za, advantage@zululink.co.za, asterixcharter@vodamail.co.za, maverickfishing@telkomsa.net, wavedancer@kznweb.com, lastroundster@gmail.com, info@seevarkie.co.za, magnum@sodwanabaylodge.com, peterjacobs@lantic.net, sodwanacharters@gmail.com, tia.nel@vodamail.co.za, tcrous@telkomsa.net, Louis.Nell@fnb.co.za, nnqabeni@tourism.gov.za, MatyanaN2@dwa.gov.za, mmayekiso@environment.gov.za, matyanaN2@dwaf.gov.za, andrew@isimangaliso.com, apz@worldonline.com, debbie@isimangaliso.com


    Greetings and Salutations to all.

    your email addresses have been copied from the collective posts below, and this email has been sent to most. please forward this to any person who you believe can help in getting the IWPA to take part in the true developmentof the Umkhanyakude district Municipality by forcing them to abide by the laws in place and participate meaningfully in the local municipality IDPP (Integrated Development plan Process)
    Many thanx for your concern about the IWP and its management.

    This is how ever a joke that has gone sour. Many have complained and complained, with ZERO results. so we are trying to force some kind of action here

    http://forafrica.co.za/forms/?p=128
    http://www.facebook.com/events/440687949304495/
    http://iwpappp.blogspot.com/

    The WHCA (World heritage Convention act) mandates the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) to work with the local, regional and national government departments and the local people in a co-operative manner.
    The NEMA (National Environmental Management act ) and its subservient act the ICMA (Integrated Coastal Management act ) mandate the park to have an EMP (Environmental Management plan) and IMP (Integrated Management Plan) inplace.
    The MSA (Municipal Systems Act) mandates the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) to have an IMP (Integrated Management Plan) in place which is INTEGRATED with the local Municipalities IDP (Integrated Development Plan)

    The Mtubatuba Municipality has an IDP In place as is mandated by various laws.  The IWPA is mandated by the laws mentioned above to work with the Mtubatuba Municipality and their IDP (Integrated Development Plan)  process and the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) issues are supposed to be INTEGRATED into this IDP (Integrated Development plan) through the IDP PRF (Integrated Development plan public representatives forum)

    As a concerned citizen with great difficulty accessing the natural areas of the park for recreational purposes I have personally attempted to see copies of the IWPA IMP (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority Integrated Management Plan) and IWPA EMP (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority Environmental Management Plan) that is in possession of the Mtubatuba Municipality for purposes of INTEGRATION OF THESE PLANS INTO THE MTUBATUBA INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PLAN but have failed, as this is not available. Please take your time and put some personal effort into verifying these facts by reading the minutes of the meetings of the Mtubatuba IDP PRF (integrated Development Plan Public Representatives Forum) and establishung if any of my concerns about the non participation of the IWPA in these matters have EVER been addressed.

    Who is responsible to ensure that the IWPA IMP (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority Integrated Management Plan) is INTEGRATED into the local municipalities Integrated Management Plan as is mandated by various laws, RODS (such as 4x4 ban) and other legislation)

    The fact that the IWPA IMP (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority Integrated Management Plan is not available to the public at the local municipality level where development is meant to be approved,, managed and monitored is very disturbing and has lead to many instances where developers have lost their investment due to the fact that they believed they had the necessary paper work and permissions, only to find out that the IWPA operates independently and without any form of public approval or public recourse to their l0sses.

    See this post http://isimangalisonews.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/illegal-resorts-in-isimangeliso-park-demolished/ then evaluate what you have read above and decide for yourself what action you need to take to get the problem solved.

    Looking forward to seeing some pressure put on the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) to come clean and do what is right. Hopefully somebody will be prosecuted criminally for this very sad state of affairs where tens of thousands have lost their economic opportunities and jobs, with hundreds of millions of rands of investments having gone sour due to bad if not criminally negligent management practices of the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority

    Regards Frank

    Frank Gainsford
    http://facebook.com/mtuba4u


    On Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 9:10 PM, Louis Fourie <fouriesgarage@telkomsa.net> wrote:
    En ons dag St Lucia het probleme...............................................Dit lyk my net die Public Protector sal hierdie probleem kan oplos.

    Louis Fourie
    fouriesgarage@telkomsa.net
    086 615 4605 fax
    039 315 0622 home
    083 663 4982 mobile
    11 Churchill St.
    PO Box 722
    Shelly beach
    4265
    South Africa
     
     
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: pe+me
    Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2012 8:30 PM
    Subject: Fw: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism - South Africa

     
     
     
     
     
    -------Original Message-------
     
    From: Maans
    Date: 9/4/2012 11:31:59 AM
    To: pe+me
    Subject: Fw: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism - South Africa
     
     
    ----- Original Message -----
    To: 'Alwyn' ; Alwyn Badenhorst Snr ; 'Andre Erasmus' ; 'Branus Ras' ; Carine@certaintycharters.co.za ; 'Carl Boettger' ; casper@actionpb.co.za ; cor@ilandlures.co.za ; Dirk Strachan ; Etienne Muller ; 'Evert Bam' ; Fouche Blignaut ; 'Garth McGee' ; Gerhard Brits ; Handro Swart ; helga.smith@momentum.co.za ; Henk Du Plessis ; "Henry P Badenhorst ()"@vodamail.co.za ; Herman Steyn ; 'Jaco Abrie' ; Jaco Smith ; 'Jacques Bisschoff' ; 'Joe Nell' ; johan@actgroup.co.za ; 'Johann Smith' ; johan@fishingproshop.co.za ; Leandri Smith ; yamaha@lantic.net ; Louis Nel ; lutz.nell@agribonus.co.za ; Marco Van Niekerk ; 'Marcus Anderson' ; Martin Kruger ; Michael Hotti ; Neal Dickinson ; Neels Ferreira ; Neels Smith ; Patric Scheepers ; Bollie Petrus Crous ; 'Pieter Smith' ; Pulsator ; ruan.smal@aurecongroup.com ; 'Stephan Venter' ; Stiaan du Plooy ; Wildre Badenhorst ; steve@sodwanabay.com ; rorke@mags.co.za ; admin@sadsaa.com ; christel.raubenheimer@gmail.com ; rothman@skyafrica.co.za ; fherbst@menh.co.za ; pdsac@hotmail.com ; sodwanabay@mweb.co.za ; sblsc@icon.co.za ; lm@sodwanabaylodge.com ; admin@coraldivers.co.za ; info@reefteach.co.za ; wegint@media24.com ; andre@adayinafrica.co.za ; info@adventuremania.co.za ; info@amoraydiving.com ; coraldivers@mweb.co.za ; bluejuice@icon.co.za ; Arthur@mako-diving.co.za ; res@isibindi.co.za ; francois@oceandivers.co.za ; piscesdiving@webmail.co.za ; sblsc@icon.co.za ; Dive@SeaEscapes.co.za ; info@twobar.co.za ; tritondiving@mweb.co.za ; info@reefteach.co.za ; info@occi-scuba.co.za ; dave@zululanddiving.co.za ; nemosodwana@vodamail.co.za ; enquiries@safariadventure.co.za ; advantage@zululink.co.za ; asterixcharter@vodamail.co.za ; maverickfishing@telkomsa.net ; wavedancer@kznweb.com ; lastroundster@gmail.com ; info@seevarkie.co.za ; magnum@sodwanabaylodge.com ; peterjacobs@lantic.net ; sodwanacharters@gmail.com ; tia.nel@vodamail.co.za ; tcrous@telkomsa.net ; Gavin
    Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2012 10:30 AM
    Subject: FW: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism - South Africa

    Latest Update

    From: Eloundou Assomo, Lazare [mailto:L.Eloundou-Assomo@unesco.org]
    Sent: 04 September 2012 09:34 AM
    To: nelius.smith@gmail.com
    Cc: Rao, Kishore; Delegation of South Africa/Délégation de Afrique du Sud; FMketeni@environment.gov.za; Mukwevho.C@dbe.gov.za; Natcom South Africa 3; Moorhead, Victoria; Bermeo-Gaucher, Fabiola; Rondon Fuentes, Krishanthi; Berger, Guy; Jameel, Phyza; WH-info; andrew@iSimangaliso.com; Matyanan2@dwa.gov.za; Smancotywa@environment.gov.za; debbie@isimangaliso.com; MkhwanaziS@kznded.gov.za; ministry@tourism.gov.za; Karklins, Janis; TNtloko@environment.gov.za
    Subject: RE: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism - South Africa

    Dear Mr Smith,

    Thank you for contacting UNESCO regarding Isimangaliso World Heritage site. I have been requested by Mr. Rao to carefully study this issue.

    I will come back to you with more details.

    Best regards

    Lazare Eloundou

    Chief, Africa Unit

    UNESCO World Heritage Centre

    From: Karklins, Janis
    Sent: Monday, September 03, 2012 1:29 PM
    To: Nelius.Smith
    Cc: Delegation of SOUTH AFRICA; Mukwevho.C@dbe.gov.za; Natcom South Africa 3; Moorhead, Victoria; Bermeo-Gaucher, Fabiola; Rondon Fuentes, Krishanthi; Berger, Guy; Jameel, Phyza; WH-info; andrew@iSimangaliso.com; Matyanan2@dwa.gov.za; 'Fundisile Mketeni'; 'Skumsa Mancotywa'; debbie@isimangaliso.com; MkhwanaziS@kznded.gov.za; ministry@tourism.gov.za; Rao, Kishore
    Subject: RE: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism - South Africa

    Dear Mr Smith

    Thank you for our mail and issues touched therein.

    The world heritage issues at UNESCO are under supervision of the World Heritage Centre which is headed by Mr Kishore Rao.

    May I respectfully ask to get in touch with Mr Rao (k.rao@unesco.org) who would be well suited to advise on possible remedies for the situation.

    Thank you

    Janis Karklins

    From: Nelius.Smith [mailto:nelius.smith@gmail.com]
    Sent: lundi 3 septembre 2012 10:34
    To: Karklins, Janis
    Cc: Delegation of SOUTH AFRICA; Mukwevho.C@dbe.gov.za; Natcom South Africa 3; Moorhead, Victoria; Bermeo-Gaucher, Fabiola; Rondon Fuentes, Krishanthi; Berger, Guy; Jameel, Phyza; WH-info; andrew@iSimangaliso.com; Matyanan2@dwa.gov.za; 'Fundisile Mketeni'; 'Skumsa Mancotywa'; debbie@isimangaliso.com; MkhwanaziS@kznded.gov.za; ministry@tourism.gov.za
    Subject: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism - South Africa

    Dear Sir

    I am writing this on behalf of regular Tourists and Neighbours to Sodwana Bay which falls in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park – South Africa.

    Please find below a detailed letter that I have send to our local authorities for investigation.  My feeling is that they do not know the correct channels of Authority  or recognise the urgency of the matter and therefore I have thought to address UNESCO.  I would appreciate it very much if you could take the time to carefully read my letter below so that you could have a clear understanding of what we Tourists and Neighbours have experienced at Sodwana Bay.  This mainly relates to the difficulties that we have to gain access into the iSimangaliso Wetland Park at Sodwana Bay over peak holiday seasons.  I have read through your (UNESCO-World Heritage Site) website and would like to point out the items which I have highlighted. – See below in yellow and blue.  Also, please find all correspondence as to which I have received at the bottom of this mail.

    As I have mentioned in my original letter there are not much benefits to Tourists, Neighbours and the local Community over peak holiday seasons at Sodwana Bay which is in contradiction of the Integrity Values of a World Heritage Site.

    Can this please be treated at a high level? I would kindly like to know whether this issue will be attended to and if possible some details as to the way forward.

    Best Regards

    Nelius Smith

    +27 824953355

    iSimangaliso Wetland Park

    Integrity

    The property consists of 13 separate but contiguous conservation units totalling 239,566 ha including some 85,000 ha of marine reserves. Its history of conservation management dates back to 1895 when the first reserves were created by the Zululand Government, and later proposals for titanium sand mining were rejected. Ongoing integrity issues include the protection of catchment area and regional development (upstream water abstraction, agricultural practices and road construction); land claims (which may result in further boundary issues); resource harvesting and local community issues; and restoration of degraded habitats. A unified management system for all 13 components was also requested.

    The park is not inhabited by people apart from six small townships in the Kosi Bay Coastal Forest Reserve (insert current number of inhabitants). There are also two villages (Makakatana and St Lucia Estuary) which are enclaves within the Park but not part of it. About 100,000 people from 48 tribal groups live in villages surrounding the Park and community conservation programmes are key to minimising conflicts and maximising benefits. A progressive neighbour-relations policy fosters good relations with communities who live near the Park to ensure that they derive direct benefits from the protected area such as free access, business and employment.

    Benefits of World Heritage listing

    Once a site is inscribed on the World Heritage List, it joins an

    international community that values and appreciates

    outstanding examples of natural wealth. Today the World

    Heritage concept is so well understood that sites on the list

    are a magnet for international cooperation and receive

    financial assistance for conservation projects from a variety

    of sources. Finally, inscription of a site on the World Heritage

    List brings an increase in public awareness of the site and its

    OUV and can lead to increased tourist activities at the site.

    When tourism is well planned and organized around

    sustainable tourism principles, it can bring important funds

    to the site and the local economy. The prestige that comes

    from having sites inscribed on the World Heritage List often

    serves as a catalyst to raising awareness for conserving

    marine natural heritage for future generations.

    Assessing Marine World Heritage

    from an Ecosystem Perspective

    The Western Indian Ocean

    Integrity – Many of the issues and challenges identified by

    the World Heritage Committee at the time of the inscription

    of iSimangaliso as a World Heritage site have been

    resolved. Previously comprising fragmented parcels of land,

    iSimangaliso has been consolidated into one proclaimed

    protected area under South African legislation, the World

    Heritage Convention Act. Importantly this act adopts the

    Convention and writes the protection of the World

    Heritage sites into South African law, whilst also recognising

    the need to deliver economic and social benefits to

    neighbouring communities, without which the long term

    integrity of the Property could be compromised. Added to

    this, a zone of influence (buffer zone) has been delineated

    along iSimangaliso's boundary, where development controls

    afford the Park an additional layer of protection. The

    necessary conservation and visitor infrastructure that is

    required for effective conservation and interpretation of the

    Park's universal values has largely been put in place

    including, fencing most of the Park. Conservation

    programmes include the reintroduction of native species

    and removal of alien commercial plantation species from

    iSimangaliso, with on-going and rigorous alien plant

    control programmes being applied. Additional terrestrial

    and marine areas of ecological significance to the

    iSimangaliso has also been incorporated into the Park. Nine

    of the 14 land claims have been settled under a National

    Government policy framework which ensures that

    iSimangaliso will be managed by the state in perpetuity as

    a conservation area.

    Protection and management – South Africa has solid

    legislation that affords iSimangaliso the necessary legal

    protection. Furthermore, the Park is managed by a dedicated

    agency founded in South African law, the

    iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority. The iSimangaliso

    Authority has made significant progress in the past 10

    years. Policies and plans have been formulated and systematically

    implemented, monitored for effectiveness,

    reviewed and adapted. A range of challenges that require

    management and intervention remain; two critical issues

    being the diminished hydrological functioning of the

    Umfolozi River and the delivery of meaningful benefits to

    communities. To meet the many and varied challenges the

    iSimangaliso Authority has developed and consulted its

    Integrated Management Plan. This updated five year plan

    will guide the on-going protection and development of

    iSimangaliso, ensuring its integrity and the values for

    which it was originally inscribed on the World Heritage List.

    Dedicated programmes aimed at enhancing the hydrological

    functioning of the Umfolozi River and implementing

    the iSimangaliso People and Parks' programme have been

    put in place. In addition, WH listing helped prevent further

    proposals to mine Titanium in the sand dunes and other

    industrial activities which would have negatively impacted

    the area.

    From: Nelius.Smith [mailto:nelius.smith@gmail.com]
    Sent: 17 August 2012 09:29 AM
    To: ministry@tourism. gov. za (
    ministry@tourism.gov.za)
    Cc: 'raucamp@tourism.gov.za'; 'spienaar@tourism.gov.za'; 'mrossouw@tourism.gov.za'; 'nnqabeni@tourism.gov.za'; 'tbloem@tourism.gov.za'; 'jsingh@tourism.gov.za'; 'htheron@tourism.gov.za'
    Subject: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism

    Dear Minister of Tourism,

    I am writing this letter on behalf of myself and other holiday-makers (Tourists) to Sodwana Bay which falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in Kwazulu Natal. I hope you find the contents to be constructive and positive, rather than being negative and criticism.

    I really appreciate the efforts by Government; Department of Environmental Affairs as well as Department of Tourism via Statutory body: iSimangaliso Wetland Park for their great initiative to protect our coastline for Generations to come.

    Since the early 1970's my Parents came to Sodwana Bay for holidays.  This tradition grew on to the new generation which is me.  I am 36 years old and I have been coming to Sodwana Bay almost every year since I was born.  In 2007 after having some bad experiences in the campsite (theft) and knowing that I would soon start a family, I started seeking alternative accommodation. I bought a piece of property in 2007 outside the iSimangaliso Wetland Park were my wife and children will be comfortable without the difficulty of camping.  I could also bring my pets along over a long December holiday.

    I am a keen off-shore fisherman who spends long hours on the ocean and therefore would like my family to also be happy and to enjoy the stay at Sodwana Bay. I have tagged and released a number of Billfish from Sodwana Bay and some Black Marlin has been Satellite Tagged off Sodwana Bay by some of my fisherman-friends and family earlier this year.  The Sattelite Tags are still on the fish and the information will be received after the Tags have popped up to the surface 180 days after it has been deployed.  This information will be the first of its kind in the Indian Ocean and we will have a better understanding of the migration patterns of the Black Marlin that roam our waters.

    Unfortunately I have two difficulties to enjoy Sodwana Bay the way I was use to…

    The first one being:  THE ACCESS GATE OF iSIMANGALISO WETLAND PARK

    The problem is that they are only using one Computer to grant Entrance & Exit into the Park.  This causes an extremely long queue during peak holiday seasons.  Due to this, one sometimes has to wait for more than 3 hours in the queue to gain access to the beach.  For a mother with a 3 month old baby and a 2 year old girl this is not easy.

    Due to this, my friends who joined me last year will not be coming to Sodwana Bay this year.  "You can't call this a holiday".  It is also interesting to note that at the time the Google Earth Street View Camera Crew approached the Gate there was a queue…  See below.

    Can iSimangaliso please do something about this?

    For example getting three or more Computers…

    A better, more user-friendly system?

    The second difficulty I have:  TO OBTAIN A BEACH PERMIT

    Last year December (2011) I couldn't help feeling like a Guinea pig.  At thirst the Public was told to obtain a Beach Permit from the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Offices from four in the afternoon.  This caused huge problems as there were not sufficient parking and there were way more people looking for Beach Permits than the 200 issued. See Hello Peter Complaint below.  After noting that this caused major problems, iSimangaliso Staff changed the arrangements that Permits would be issued in the mornings. This caused me to wake up every morning at 3:30 to ensure a Beach Permit.  I parked in the queue and it would take approximately an hour and a half to issue the 100 permits to the Residents staying outside the Park from the time the iSimangaliso Staff arrives.  So from 3:30 am to 6:45 am, I have to stand in a queue to obtain a beach permit for my wife and children.  Charter boats launch at 6:00 am, so the other fisherman were waiting for me on the beach.  The reason I so desperately want a Beach Permit is for my wife to be able to drive onto the beach with all the necessary items such as: a Gazebo, a Cooler Box, Toys, Towels, etc.  If she had to park at the top it would be impossible to carry two children and the other necessities…  At some stage there were rumours regarding a shuttle service to at least transport people and their necessities to and from the beach to which I have not noticed anything.   

    In December 2010 the arrangement regarding Beach Permits was a little better in the way that it was issued at the gate which gives access to the beach.  If a vehicle returned from the beach another vehicle could gain access and in this way at least give more people the opportunity to visit the beach with their vehicles.  I cannot understand the logic of issuing 200 Beach Permits only to 200 vehicles (in December 2011) knowing that there are more than 1000 people looking for permits.  At least a lot more Tourists will have the opportunity to access the beach with their vehicles if the logic of December 2010 was followed.  The people who got Beach Permits have been awake since 3:30 am and will therefore maybe only arrive at 10:00 as they might have gone back to bed at 7:00 am.  During this time other Tourist might have had the opportunity to visit the beach.

    If you combine the two problems that I have: queuing from 3:30 am to 7:00 for a Beach Permit and then again from 10:00 to 12:00 to gain access to the beach via iSimangaliso's "one Computer gate" (Total 5.5hrs) I can honestly not call this a holiday…

    Can we (Tourists) at least know a.s.a.p. exactly what the arrangements will be in December 2012?  If I at least know what I am in for, I still have the change to reconsider to go somewhere else than to iSimangaliso Authorities where I can have a peaceful and relaxing holiday.

    Sodwana Bay has more than 300 Campsites, more than 30 Lodges, Guesthouses, Dive Operator's and lots of Private properties.  Can iSimangaliso not share the 220km of Coastline a little more user friendly towards Tourists?

    Have iSimangaliso done the necessary studies in terms of Tourism regarding Sodwana Bay?  For example: How many people come to Sodwana Bay over December holidays?  What will be done to accommodate this amount of Tourists? Who is the majority of Tourists? Are we considered Tourists or are we Guinea pigs?  Is Sodwana Bay no longer for the people who use to come here for many years?

    I am sure that International Tourist who has to endure this discomfort will not return.  I can assure you at this stage that people who visited Sodwana Bay in December 2011 will not agree as to iSimangaliso Wetland Park being a finalist for "Tourism for Tomorrow 2011"  I witnessed Tourists cutting their holidays short and demanding refunds due to the lack of gaining access to the beach and for queuing long hours. As it is, there is no benefit to me as a Tourist to visit Sodwana Bay and nor to the Community as is mentioned below in the attachments.

    One other concern is the way in which Tourists gets treated by Officials and by Alpha Security who man these gates.  Information has not been made clear to Tourists in the past and caused many confrontations. Officials and the Security at Sodwana Bay are definitely not carrying out the Values of the Department of Tourism.  See below (Bottom of page) "We will act with integrity by being accountable, showing respect and serving with honesty, respect and trustworthiness."

    I would not agree at this stage as to what was said by yourself and Mr. Ndabo Khoza on the iSimangaliso Award Dinner on 18th May 2011.  "It is an indication that the world recognises the efforts of government through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority in conserving iSimangaliso's environment and developing tourism for the benefit of communities and visitors." "CEO of KZN Tourism Authority, Mr Ndabo Khoza, says "iSimangaliso is an important provider of benefits to people in the region and a key KZN tourism attraction." "It is also a very strategic product for the area and will help them fulfil their mandate for economic development as it attracts more investors to the area which ultimately creates more jobs for people from surrounding areas."

    I am sure that a lot less Tourists will visit Sodwana Bay during December 2012 due to these difficulties and therefore not contribute to the local economy as is potentially possible.  Tourists might seek alternatives like Mozambique which will hold no advantage to Tourism in South Africa.

    Can we expect to see some quick solutions and actions regarding these difficulties to improve Tourism to Sodwana Bay?

    I cannot wait for my children to be able to enjoy and share this Jewel (Sodwana Bay) the way I did.  Or is it not to be shared?

    Best Regards

    Nelius Smith

    0824953355

    GOOGLE EARTH – STREET VIEW -  iSIMANGALISO ENTRANCE GATE @ SODWANA BAY

    HELLO PETER

     EZEMVELO KZN WILDLIFE

    iSIMANGALISO WETLAND PARK

      

    DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM - VALUES

     

    RESPONSE RECEIVED UP TO THIS POINT AS at 3 September 2012

    DEAR COLLEAGUES

    MAY YOU PLEASE RESPOND TO THE EMAIL BELOW

    regards

    Nomxolisi Matyana

    Chief of Staff: Office of the Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs

    Private Bag X313

    Pretoria

    0001

    012 336 8504 (tel)

    012 3368311 (fax)

    0826554126

    Matyanan2@dwa.gov.za

    From: Nelius.Smith [mailto:nelius.smith@gmail.com]
    Sent: 24 August 2012 02:07 PM
    To: Matyana Nomxolisi (KEY)
    Cc: 'Nontuthuzelo Nqabeni'; 'Hannelie Theron'; 'Jay Singh'; 'Riaan Aucamp'; 'Sanet Pienaar'; 'Trevor Bloem'; 'Ministry Capetown'; 'Melene Rossouw';
    mmayekiso@environment.gov.za; Madlala Ntombi; Moripe Nchedi; matyanaN2@dwaf.gov.za; andrew@iSimangaliso.com; apz@worldonline.com; debbie@isimangaliso.com; 'Sipho Mkhwanazi'; 'Duduzile Nkosi'
    Subject: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism???

    Dear Ms. Matyana,

    Please see all correspondence below.

     

    Is it possible for you to please confirm  that the  Department of Water & Environmental Affairs as well as Statutory body iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority is paying attention to this urgent matter and when we can expect some feedback?

     

     

    Best Regards

     

    Nelius Smith

    From: Nontuthuzelo Nqabeni [mailto:nnqabeni@tourism.gov.za]
    Sent: 24 August 2012 12:41 PM
    To: Ministry Capetown; Melene Rossouw; Nelius.Smith
    Cc: Hannelie Theron; Jay Singh; Riaan Aucamp; Sanet Pienaar; Trevor Bloem
    Subject: RE: FW: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism???

    Dear Mr, Smith

    Let me give you an email for the Head of Office for the Deputy Minister of Environment: MatyanaN2@dwa.gov.za.  Ms. Matyana will give you the persons to respond to your letter.

    Thanks



    >>> "Nelius.Smith" <
    nelius.smith@gmail.com> 8/24/2012 11:32 AM >>>

    Dear Ms Nqabeni,

     

    Can you please send me the contact details and persons responsible at the DDG and the DEA who  these letters where refer to and from who we can expect feedback?

     

    I have also send the letter to the KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism (Mr. SS Mkhwanazi- Manager, Tourism Development) – See below

     

    He has forwarded my letter to the iSimangaliso CEO to which I have had no response yet.

     

    Is it possible for you to please confirm with the DEA that iSimangaliso is paying attention to this urgent matter and when we can expect some feedback?

     

     

    Best Regards

     

    Nelius Smith

     

     

     

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    From: Sipho Mkhwanazi [mailto:MkhwanaziS@kznded.gov.za]
    Sent: 22 August 2012 09:22 AM
    To: 
    andrew@iSimangaliso.com; apz@worldonline.com
    Cc: 
    debbie@isimangaliso.com; nelius.smith@gmail.com
    Subject: FW: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism

     

    Dear Andrew

     

    Attached please find an email from Mr Smith who is a regular visitor of Isimangaliso for your attention and consideration. It would be appreciated if your office could liaise directly with Mr Smith once you have considered the issues at hand.

     

    With kind regards

     

    SS Mkhwanazi

    DEDT –KZN     

     

    From: Nelius.Smith [mailto:nelius.smith@gmail.com]
    Sent: 20 August 2012 09:06 PM
    To: Sipho Mkhwanazi
    Cc: Duduzile Nkosi
    Subject: RE: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism

     

    Dear Mr Mkhwanazi,

     

    Thank you very much for the quick response.  I have not send this to the CEO of  iSimangaliso.  I do not have any objections and hopefully he will understand my concern regarding tourism in the area.

     

     

    Best Regards

     

     

    Nelius Smith

     

    From: Sipho Mkhwanazi [mailto:MkhwanaziS@kznded.gov.za]
    Sent: 20 August 2012 04:48 PM
    To: Nelius.Smith
    Cc: Duduzile Nkosi
    Subject: RE: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism

     

    Dear Mr Smith

     

     

    Thanks for your mail as well as the bold step you took of highlighting issues of concern that need to be addressed. Just checking has this been taken up with the Isimangaliso CEO and what was his response. If not, I will refer the matter to him for his attention and I hope you won't have any objections.

     

    As you correctly put it, Isimangaliso falls within the National Department of environmental Affairs however as tourism custodian we do have interest on the developments at the site.   

     

    With kind regards

     

    SS Mkhwanazi

    DEDT

     

     

    From: Nelius.Smith [mailto:nelius.smith@gmail.com]
    Sent: 20 August 2012 03:55 PM
    To: Sipho Mkhwanazi; Duduzile Nkosi
    Subject: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism

     

    Dear Sir/s

     

    I wanted to bring the following to your attention:  Please see below.

     

     

    Best Regards

     

    Nelius Smith

    0824953355

     

    From: Nelius.Smith [mailto:nelius.smith@gmail.com]
    Sent: 17 August 2012 09:29 AM
    To: ministry@tourism. gov. za (
    ministry@tourism.gov.za)
    Cc: 'raucamp@tourism.gov.za'; 'spienaar@tourism.gov.za'; 'mrossouw@tourism.gov.za'; 'nnqabeni@tourism.gov.za'; 'tbloem@tourism.gov.za'; 'jsingh@tourism.gov.za'; 'htheron@tourism.gov.za'
    Subject: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism

     

    Dear Minister of Tourism,

     

    I am writing this letter on behalf of myself and other holiday-makers (Tourists) to Sodwana Bay which falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in Kwazulu Natal. I hope you find the contents to be constructive and positive, rather than being negative and criticism.

     

    I really appreciate the efforts by Government; Department of Environmental Affairs as well as Department of Tourism via Statutory body: iSimangaliso Wetland Park for their great initiative to protect our coastline for Generations to come.

     

    Since the early 1970's my Parents came to Sodwana Bay for holidays.  This tradition grew on to the new generation which is me.  I am 36 years old and I have been coming to Sodwana Bay almost every year since I was born.  In 2007 after having some bad experiences in the campsite (theft) and knowing that I would soon start a family, I started seeking alternative accommodation. I bought a piece of property in 2007 outside the iSimangaliso Wetland Park were my wife and children will be comfortable without the difficulty of camping.  I could also bring my pets along over a long December holiday.

    I am a keen off-shore fisherman who spends long hours on the ocean and therefore would like my family to also be happy and to enjoy the stay at Sodwana Bay. I have tagged and released a number of Billfish from Sodwana Bay and some Black Marlin has been Satellite Tagged off Sodwana Bay by some of my fisherman-friends and family earlier this year.  The Sattelite Tags are still on the fish and the information will be received after the Tags have popped up to the surface 180 days after it has been deployed.  This information will be the first of its kind in the Indian Ocean and we will have a better understanding of the migration patterns of the Black Marlin that roam our waters.

     

    Unfortunately I have two difficulties to enjoy Sodwana Bay the way I was use to…

     

    The first one being:  THE ACCESS GATE OF iSIMANGALISO WETLAND PARK

     

    The problem is that they are only using one Computer to grant Entrance & Exit into the Park.  This causes an extremely long queue during peak holiday seasons.  Due to this, one sometimes has to wait for more than 3 hours in the queue to gain access to the beach.  For a mother with a 3 month old baby and a 2 year old girl this is not easy.

     

    Due to this, my friends who joined me last year will not be coming to Sodwana Bay this year.  "You can't call this a holiday".  It is also interesting to note that at the time the Google Earth Street View Camera Crew approached the Gate there was a queue…  See below.

     

    Can iSimangaliso please do something about this?

     

    For example getting three or more Computers…

    A better, more user-friendly system?

     

     

    The second difficulty I have:  TO OBTAIN A BEACH PERMIT

     

    Last year December (2011) I couldn't help feeling like a Guinea pig.  At thirst the Public was told to obtain a Beach Permit from the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Offices from four in the afternoon.  This caused huge problems as there were not sufficient parking and there were way more people looking for Beach Permits than the 200 issued. See Hello Peter Complaint below.  After noting that this caused major problems, iSimangaliso Staff changed the arrangements that Permits would be issued in the mornings. This caused me to wake up every morning at 3:30 to ensure a Beach Permit.  I parked in the queue and it would take approximately an hour and a half to issue the 100 permits to the Residents staying outside the Park from the time the iSimangaliso Staff arrives.  So from 3:30 am to 6:45 am, I have to stand in a queue to obtain a beach permit for my wife and children.  Charter boats launch at 6:00 am, so the other fisherman were waiting for me on the beach.  The reason I so desperately want a Beach Permit is for my wife to be able to drive onto the beach with all the necessary items such as: a Gazebo, a Cooler Box, Toys, Towels, etc.  If she had to park at the top it would be impossible to carry two children and the other necessities…  At some stage there were rumours regarding a shuttle service to at least transport people and their necessities to and from the beach to which I have not noticed anything.   

     

    In December 2010 the arrangement regarding Beach Permits was a little better in the way that it was issued at the gate which gives access to the beach.  If a vehicle returned from the beach another vehicle could gain access and in this way at least give more people the opportunity to visit the beach with their vehicles.  I cannot understand the logic of issuing 200 Beach Permits only to 200 vehicles (in December 2011) knowing that there are more than 1000 people looking for permits.  At least a lot more Tourists will have the opportunity to access the beach with their vehicles if the logic of December 2010 was followed.  The people who got Beach Permits have been awake since 3:30 am and will therefore maybe only arrive at 10:00 as they might have gone back to bed at 7:00 am.  During this time other Tourist might have had the opportunity to visit the beach.

     

    If you combine the two problems that I have: queuing from 3:30 am to 7:00 for a Beach Permit and then again from 10:00 to 12:00 to gain access to the beach via iSimangaliso's "one Computer gate" (Total 5.5hrs) I can honestly not call this a holiday…

    Can we (Tourists) at least know a.s.a.p. exactly what the arrangements will be in December 2012?  If I at least know what I am in for, I still have the change to reconsider to go somewhere else than to iSimangaliso Authorities where I can have a peaceful and relaxing holiday.

     

    Sodwana Bay has more than 300 Campsites, more than 30 Lodges, Guesthouses, Dive Operator's and lots of Private properties.  Can iSimangaliso not share the 220km of Coastline a little more user friendly towards Tourists?

     

    Have iSimangaliso done the necessary studies in terms of Tourism regarding Sodwana Bay?  For example: How many people come to Sodwana Bay over December holidays?  What will be done to accommodate this amount of Tourists? Who is the majority of Tourists? Are we considered Tourists or are we Guinea pigs?  Is Sodwana Bay no longer for the people who use to come here for many years?

    I am sure that International Tourist who has to endure this discomfort will not return.  I can assure you at this stage that people who visited Sodwana Bay in December 2011 will not agree as to iSimangaliso Wetland Park being a finalist for "Tourism for Tomorrow 2011"  I witnessed Tourists cutting their holidays short and demanding refunds due to the lack of gaining access to the beach and for queuing long hours. As it is, there is no benefit to me as a Tourist to visit Sodwana Bay and nor to the Community as is mentioned below in the attachments.

     

    One other concern is the way in which Tourists gets treated by Officials and by Alpha Security who man these gates.  Information has not been made clear to Tourists in the past and caused many confrontations. Officials and the Security at Sodwana Bay are definitely not carrying out the Values of the Department of Tourism.  See below (Bottom of page) "We will act with integrity by being accountable, showing respect and serving with honesty, respect and trustworthiness."  

    I would not agree at this stage as to what was said by yourself and Mr. Ndabo Khoza on the iSimangaliso Award Dinner on 18th May 2011.  "It is an indication that the world recognises the efforts of government through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority in conserving iSimangaliso's environment and developing tourism for the benefit of communities and visitors." "CEO of KZN Tourism Authority, Mr Ndabo Khoza, says "iSimangaliso is an important provider of benefits to people in the region and a key KZN tourism attraction." "It is also a very strategic product for the area and will help them fulfil their mandate for economic development as it attracts more investors to the area which ultimately creates more jobs for people from surrounding areas."

     

    I am sure that a lot less Tourists will visit Sodwana Bay during December 2012 due to these difficulties and therefore not contribute to the local economy as is potentially possible.  Tourists might seek alternatives like Mozambique which will hold no advantage to Tourism in South Africa.

     

    Can we expect to see some quick solutions and actions regarding these difficulties to improve Tourism to Sodwana Bay?

     

    I cannot wait for my children to be able to enjoy and share this Jewel (Sodwana Bay) the way I did.  Or is it not to be shared?

     

     

    Best Regards

     

    Nelius Smith

    0824953355

     

     

    From: Nontuthuzelo Nqabeni [mailto:nnqabeni@tourism.gov.za]
    Sent: 22 August 2012 02:59 PM
    To: Ministry Capetown; Melene Rossouw; Louis Nell
    Cc: Hannelie Theron; Jay Singh; Riaan Aucamp; Sanet Pienaar; Trevor Bloem
    Subject: RE: FW: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism???

     

    Dear Mr. Nell

     

    I have also forwarded your email to the Department of Environmental Affairs and it has been referred to the DDG responsible for Parks.  The DEA will get back to you.

     

    Thanks

     



    >>> "Nell, Louis" <
    Louis.Nell@fnb.co.za> 8/22/2012 1:17 PM >>>

    Good Day Ms Russouw

     

    Thank you for your response on Friday 17 August.

     

    As the above subject and the contents of my email below refer, this matter is of utmost importance to me, my family and friends.

     

    As yet I have not received any feedback beside your response and I am very worried that my email has not been dealt with or that the powers to be do not think of this as a matter of urgency…!

     

    Please advice at your soonest convenience?

     

    Kind Regards

     

    Louis Nell

     

     

    From: Melene Rossouw [mailto:mrossouw@tourism.gov.za]
    Sent: 17 August 2012 01:55 PM
    To: Nell, Louis; Ministry Capetown
    Cc: Hannelie Theron; Jay Singh; Nontuthuzelo Nqabeni; Riaan Aucamp; Sanet Pienaar; Trevor Bloem
    Subject: Re: FW: iSimangaliso Wetland Park & Tourism???
     

       

    Dear Mr Nell

     

    We take note of your email and will revert to you soonest.

     

    Yours sincerely



     

     

    Ms. Melene Rossouw

    Director: Media Liaison

    Ministry of Tourism

    Republic of South Africa

    Tel: +27 (0) 21 465 7240

    Fax: +27 (0) 21 465 3216

    Cell: +27 (0) 82 753 7107

    Email: mrossouw@tourism.gov.za

    Website: www.tourism.gov.za

    >>> "Nell, Louis" <Louis.Nell@fnb.co.za> 2012/08/17 13:36 PM >>>

    Dear Minister of Tourism,

     

    I am writing this letter on behalf of myself and other holiday-makers (Tourists) to Sodwana Bay which falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in Kwazulu Natal. I hope you find the contents to be constructive and positive, rather than being negative and criticism.

     

    I really appreciate the efforts by Government; Department of Environmental Affairs as well as Department of Tourism via Statutory body: iSimangaliso Wetland Park for their great initiative to protect our coastline for Generations to come.

     

    Since the early 1968's my Parents and their parents came to Sodwana Bay for holidays.  This tradition grew on to the new generation which is me.  I am 35 years old and I have been coming to Sodwana Bay almost every year since I was born.  We always used the campsite accommodation and had memorable experiences!!!

     

    This however changed in December 2007 when upon our arrival at the campsite we noticed that the border fencing was totally flattened. This was reported at the offices and we where assured that we had not to worry about this as safety guards where allocated to those arias for patrol. From the 27th of December that year some of the holiday makers staying in the camp site experienced the effect of crime including our site as swell!!!

     

    This forced me to seek alternative accommodation outside the campsite.

     

     I am a keen off-shore fisherman who spends long hours on the ocean and therefore would like my family to also be happy and to enjoy the stay at Sodwana Bay. I have tagged and released a number of Billfish from Sodwana Bay and some Black Marlin has been Satellite Tagged off Sodwana Bay by some of my fisherman-friends and family earlier this year.  The Sattelite Tags are still on the fish and the information will be received after the Tags have popped up to the surface 180 days after it has been deployed.  This information will be the first of its kind in the Indian Ocean and we will have a better understanding of the migration patterns of the Black Marlin that roam our waters.

     

    Unfortunately I have two difficulties to enjoy Sodwana Bay the way I was use to…

     

    The first one being:  THE ACCESS GATE OF iSIMANGALISO WETLAND PARK

     

    The problem is that they are only using one Computer to grant Entrance & Exit into the Park.  This causes an extremely long queue during peak holiday seasons.  Due to this, one sometimes has to wait for more than 3 hours in the queue to gain access to the beach.  For a mother with a 3 month old baby and a 2 year old girl this is not easy.

     

    Due to this, my friends and family who joined me last year will not be coming to Sodwana Bay this year.  "You can't call this a holiday".  It is also interesting to note that at the time the Google Earth Street View Camera Crew approached the Gate there was a queue…  See below.

     

    Can iSimangaliso please do something about this PLEASE?

     

    For example getting three or more Computers…

    A better, more user-friendly system?

     

     

    The second difficulty I have:  TO OBTAIN A BEACH PERMIT

     

    Last year December (2011) I couldn't help feeling like a Guinea pig.  At first the Public was told to obtain a Beach Permit from the Ezemvelo KZNWildlife Offices from four in the afternoon.  This caused huge problems as there were not sufficient parking and there were way more people looking for Beach Permits than the 200 issued. See Hello Peter Complaint below.  This caused major problems and then iSimangaliso Staff changed the arrangements that Permits would be issued in the mornings.

     

    This however caused me to wake up every morning at 3:30 to ensure a Beach Permit. (remember this is what I must now do on my annual holiday….) I parked in the queue and it would take approximately an hour and a half to issue the 100 permits to the Residents staying outside the Park from the time the iSimangaliso Staff arrives.  So from 3:30 am to 6:45 am, I have to stand in a queue to obtain a beach permit for my wife and children.  Charter boats launch at 6:00 am, so the other fisherman were waiting for me on the beach.  The reason I so desperately want a Beach Permit is for my wife to be able to drive onto the beach with all the necessary items such as: a Gazebo, Toys for the kids and Towels etc. This is what we've always done and never was any damage done!  If she had to park at the top it would be impossible to carry the children and the other necessities…   

     

    In December 2010 the arrangement regarding Beach Permits was a little better in the way that it was issued at the gate which gives access to the beach.  If a vehicle returned from the beach another vehicle could gain access and in this way at least give more people the opportunity to visit the beach with their vehicles.  I cannot understand the logic of issuing 200 Beach Permits only to 200 vehicles (in December 2011) knowing that there are more than 1000 people looking for permits.  At least a lot more Tourists will have the opportunity to access the beach with their vehicles if the logic of December 2010 was followed.  The people who got Beach Permits have been awake since 3:30 am and will therefore maybe only arrive at 10:00 as they might have gone back to bed at 7:00 am.  During this time other Tourist might have had the opportunity to visit the beach.

     

    If you combine the two problems that I have: queuing from 3:30 am to 7:00 for a Beach Permit and then again from 10:00 to 12:00 to gain access to the beach via iSimangaliso's "one Computer gate" (Total 5.5hrs) I can honestly not call this a holiday…!

     

    Can we (Tourists) at least know a.s.a.p. exactly what the arrangements will be in December 2012?  If I at least know what I am in for, I still have the change to reconsider to go somewhere else than to iSimangaliso Authorities where I can have a peaceful and relaxing holiday.

     

    Sodwana Bay has more than 300 Campsites, more than 30 Lodges, Guesthouses, Dive Operator's and lots of Private properties.  Can iSimangaliso not share the 220km of Coastline a little more user friendly towards Tourists?

     

    Have iSimangaliso done the necessary studies in terms of Tourism regarding Sodwana Bay?  For example: How many people come to Sodwana Bay over December holidays?  What will be done to accommodate this amount of Tourists? Who is the majority of Tourists? Are we considered Tourists or are we Guinea pigs?  Is Sodwana Bay no longer for the people who use to come here for many years?

     

    I am sure that International Tourist who has to endure this discomfort will not return.  I can assure you at this stage that people who visited Sodwana Bay in December 2011 will not agree as to iSimangaliso Wetland Park being a finalist for "Tourism for Tomorrow 2011"  I witnessed Tourists cutting their holidays short and demanding refunds due to the lack of gaining access to the beach and for queuing long hours. As it is, there is no benefit to me as a Tourist to visit Sodwana Bay and nor to the Community as is mentioned below in the attachments.

     

    One other concern is the way in which Tourists gets treated by Officials and by Alpha Security who man these gates.  Information has not been made clear to Tourists in the past and caused many confrontations. Officials and the Security at Sodwana Bay are definitely not carrying out the Values of the Department of Tourism.  See below (Bottom of page) "We will act with integrity by being accountable, showing respect and serving with honesty, respect and trustworthiness."  

     

    I would not agree at this stage as to what was said by yourself and Mr. Ndabo Khoza on the iSimangaliso Award Dinner on 18th May 2011.  "It is an indication that the world recognises the efforts of government through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority in conserving iSimangaliso's environment and developing tourism for the benefit of communities and visitors." "CEO of KZN Tourism Authority, Mr Ndabo Khoza, says "iSimangaliso is an important provider of benefits to people in the region and a key KZN tourism attraction." "It is also a very strategic product for the area and will help them fulfil their mandate for economic development as it attracts more investors to the area which ultimately creates more jobs for people from surrounding areas."

     

    I am sure that a lot less Tourists will visit Sodwana Bay during December 2012 due to these difficulties and therefore not contribute to the local economy as is potentially possible.  Tourists might seek alternatives like Mozambique which will hold no advantage to Tourism in South Africa.

     

    Can we expect to see some quick solutions and actions regarding these difficulties to improve Tourism to Sodwana Bay?

     

    I cannot wait for my children to be able to enjoy and share this Jewel (Sodwana Bay) the way I did.  Or is it not to be shared?

     

     

    Kind Regards

     

    Louis Nell

    083 288 2434

     

    Ps: I am also a Gold Rhino Card member.



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    --
    Simple Cloud Computing for you - SCC4U
    www.info4u.co.za
    admin@info4u.co.za
    072 - 505 - 5111