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LETTER OF OBJECTION RE OVERSTRAND MUNICIPALITY IDP AND BABOON MANAGEMENT PLANS 2024

Objection to the Overstrand Municipality Baboon Management Plan for Pringle Bay Announced at Ward Meeting Held on Monday 29th April 2024

The EMS Foundation NPO is a South African social justice NGO with the primary purpose of alleviating and ending suffering, raising public awareness, empowering, providing dignity to and promoting the interests of vulnerable groups, including wild animals. We have a special interest in biodiversity and we support the five interrelated principles of social justice, namely: equity, access, diversity, participation and rights. We are cognisant of the entanglements of oppression and is committed to the promotion of inclusive justice, showing compassion across species and working to build a better future for all through campaigns, research, analysis, advocacy and holding government to account. The EMS Foundation sees access to information, openness, accountability and transparency as the oxygen of democracy.

Our Foundation’s financial commitment to the Overstrand geographical area is substantial and runs into tens of millions. We have invested a lot of time, energy and money into the Overstrand community. We strongly believe in restoring dignity to marginalised South African citizens by providing the tools for them to take hold of their lives. We are committed to finding solutions for the creation of a better South Africa for everyone. The Overstrand is one of the areas of where we have put our vision into action.

Our Foundation has already built a state-of-the-art boxing club and community facility and 3 high school classrooms to service the communities of Zwelihle and Mount Pleasant. This year we are building 6 more high school classrooms. Once completed the high school, together with academic qualifications, will also offer advanced technical study opportunities to the youth which will guarantee them employment.

We are also generously, financially support the local boxing club in Zwelihle. This boxing club is well known in South Africa and abroad, recognised in boxing circles for its ability of producing national boxing champions. Besides being the home of boxing champions, the club forms an important safety hub for the youth, this hub played an important role during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The EMS Foundation supported food for the many people living in Zwelihle and this was distributed from the boxing club. The club has also become a safe-have for much younger children who have no parents to care for them in the afternoons after school.

As you may be are aware, our vision and interests extend beyond humans to the protection of the natural environment for the benefit of current and future generations of South Africans. Therefore, part of our support in the Overstrand is also carefully considered assistance for the protection and safekeeping of South Africa’s natural environment, including the protection and well-being of the Chacma baboons in this region.

Unfortunately, in relation to environmental issues unfolding in the Overstrand, the municipality appears to be maligning and refusing to engage with legitimate NGOs and civil society who have a lot to offer in terms of problem solving, particularly in relation to human-baboon conflict, harmonious coexistence, and funding towards waste management solutions. This is most undemocratic and sadly reminiscent of apartheid-style power politics. Moreover, in relation to baboon management in the Overstrand there has also been questionable financial deviations.