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Good News: Formation Of HEFF / HOOF
The history of the management of the foreshore on Hartbeespoort Dam can be likened to the Wild West. Transparency was not important, while background politics, physical force, dubious annexation of land and threats (with local official backing) were the rule of the day. Some people still lay claim to the whole dam against all evidence to the contrary and the result of various court cases. There are still attempts to delay contracts with legitimate foreshore management applicants. The people who know the highest ANC politician seems to win the day. Bring into the mix: Land claims, provincial and local government ineptness, crooked officials and entrenched business interests. We know that the highest level of government was involved in potential private developments on the foreshore. These did not come off yet and greedy eyes are still focussed on land dearly needed for future phases of the Dam Rehabilitation Project. The Harties Community always came last in this power struggle, while we were kept mostly in the dark about foreshore events.
The time has come for the Harties Community to become first priority in all decisions and to start knowing what is really transpiring behind the scenes with our local politics. We must now stand up for transparency in all deals pertaining to our foreshore. While Goverment and the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) state the importance of involving the local communities at all occasions, we must keep them to their word and start standing together.
The Hartbeespoortdam Eastern (Oos) Foreshore (Oewer) Forum or HEFF / HOOF was officially born last Friday 28 November 2014. The bulk of foreshore managers, applicants and affected parties from the dam wall, through Schoemansville, Melodie, Ifafi, Meerhof and up to the Oberon bridge, were involved in this meeting. The main aim of HEFF will be to represent the interests of the broader Community in liaison with DWA. DWA expressed their support of such a Forum and stated that such a Forum may form part of a future Dam Management Committee after finalization of a Resource Management Plan. It is important that HEFF keeps all activities transparent and in the open and stay accountable to the Harties Community. HEFF can play an important future role in coordinating conservation activities between all foreshore managers and other local role players in consultation with DWA.
There are specific urgent first orders of business for this Forum to tackle and we wish them the best with this commendable, though formidable, task and with the fullest support of the Harties Community.