South Africa is one of the countries with the least amount of water in the world.
And the Limpopo has even less water than the rest of the country.
It’s also SO HOT in that area, that the water evaporates faster than anywhere else. This is sure to get worse as a result of climate change.
At the moment this area is buckling under water scarcity pressure and needs more water than it has available.
So what happens if the water demand in the barren Limpopo actually increases???
Our sad story begins here ……
In this hauntingly beautiful water scarce area - in the heart of Limpopo
- the Chinese and some Limpopo politicians are planning to build a MASSIVE industrial development.
A HUGE coal fire powered power station and lots of iron and steel factories - and they are calling it a “Special Economic Zone” or EMSEZ for short.
To build this special special place we are going to tear down 8000 hectares of incredible PRISTINE South African bushveld
And they are currently seeking comment on this topic.
So let's unpick some of the "Special" horrors of EMSEZ
The first "special" horror - STEEL
The first horror of this proposal…… 6 or more steel factories
…. Familiar nightmare? Remember Iscor?
Contaminating ground water……
driving local smallholders off their land because they and their livestock all sick…..
The air pollution….
Want a replay? Great!!…could be coming your way courtesy of EMSEZ
The bigger "special" horror - COAL
It’s not only the steel factories. Of course we all know coal mines will also pollute the water
We know this story only too well.
Ever heard of Mapungubwe… the World Heritage Site – incredibly important to South African history? …. where since 900 AD kingdoms have ruled under the Baobabs in this magnificent part of the world.
Or perhaps you have heard of the rural Mudimele people?
The Mudimele were struggling for water as it was, now their wells are affected, infected by the Vele mine.
And now...drumroll....the same company who gave us the gift of Vele - MC mining - is now also proposing four OTHER mines as part of EMSEZ
…...SEZ proposes no less than FIVE COAL MINES as part of the EMSEZ development
The biggest issue for the EMSEZ proposal is that coal mines have an unquenchable thirst for water
So the ultimate question is WHERE will the water come from? IN AN AREA WHERE THE WATER IS ALREADY SCARCE AND OVER ALLOCATED
WHAT IS PROPOSED IN THE EIA :
Taking Zimbabwe’s water
First….funnel the water from a big dam in Zimbabwe to SEZ (fed by the river between Bulawayo and Beit Bridge). The Zhove dam specifically. The Zhove dam has 30 MILLION cubic meters.
Sounds like a lot?
Guess what ….. If every single drop of Zhove is taken, that’s only enough for the construction phase of EMSEZ!!! Goodbye subsistence and smallholder farmers and any plans they have for expanding their incomes.
And here’s the REAL RUB - this is a SANDY river, and we all know how water pours through sand. So the vast majority of this water which is to be released from the dam and fed to SEZ will NEVER even arrive. It’s a fiction.
So Zimbabwe water is plundered, and still the SEZ need 123 Million MORE cubic litres to operate …. every year
The other possible source in the grand plan is ….... to
HIT UP the Limpopo for its water (the Thuli Karoo aquafer specifically)
How ..... build two GIANT dams on the SAND river to "harvest the flood water". But to get it all kicked off - suck water out of a new Eastern Limpopo aquifer, and if that fails - just go for a "starter dam" catching Limpopo water.
Have any of the "Interested and affected parties" - had an opportunity to see these plans and examine the evidence that this water exists?
Local livelihoods affected by EMSEZ
If SEZ draws its gobsmacking water needs from Limpopo, it threatens the Tuli Karoo aquafer and the livelihoods of millions. In fact 1.8million will be indirectly affected. It will make commercial irrigation impossible. End of.
An additional 200 000 people live on top of this water, run livestock, subsistence farms and will all be directly affected.
These are typically poor, rural, female head of households
Will the wells be poisoned? What will they give their children to drink?
What will they do when their subsistence farms shrivel up and die from poisoning?
These people can’t be heard because collectively their water needs are drowned out by the water consumption of the mines. But its these people who will pay the biggest price. Who speaks for them?
The government are currently inviting opinion on this. We can be the voice.
SO…..think the locals have a hope of benefiting?
Mega Projects and Distant decision makers
Locals benefit? Think again - this is what’s called a MEGA project, where decisions are made DISTANTLY
China far enough for you?
Mega projects typically involve under estimating costs and over promising to the locals about jobs, and yes (10 points for you), too often corruption where the contracts go to friends
Mysteriously..... included in the water plan are notes that the "authorities" have also received a R12.3 BILLION Rand "unsolicited quote" to build this giant Dam. And perhaps its a twofer at R24.6Bn - because they recommend building a SECOND dam on the same river strip. (which btw happens to be the border with a STUNNING nature reserve -
Have you seen how the Chinese manage their own coal mines and water resources?
Check out how they "managed" the North China plain aquifer – it’s depleted and polluted.
And these mines have horrific safety records
Who will be working in these mines? “benefiting” from the accidents and incidents
Drinking the water? “Benefiting” from the illness that polluted water gifts us.
Zero coal by 2050 in South Africa
Ahh I hear you say, but don’t worry guys, we have Greta and the world has committed to zero coal use by 2050, and surely this whole SEZ nightmare will be gone by then?
Nope…….the deal is a ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY year commitment (90+30)
I will just leave that out there. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY years
that is FIVE generations - your great great great grandchildren. What a gift we are leaving them.
Here’s us…. Laughing in the face of the Paris accord South Africa signed….
Vampires in the bloodbank
And finally – ever heard of the concept “vampire in the bloodbank?” or perhaps "poacher turned game keeper"
Well.... Its LEDET who has proposed SEZ to us (that’s the local Limpopo government)
And drumroll.... who do you think will make the decision for it to go ahead?
You guessed it!.... LEDET
There’s nothing we can do
Think there’s nothing you can do?
We can all STRENUOUSLY OPPOSE this development with its disastrous water consequences.
We can all SHARE this message.