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COEGA Impacts Environment & Ecotourism - 13 December 2007

According to an Environmental Impact Assessment report prepared for Eskom by ACER Africa, double Gamma-Grassridge 765kW transmission power lines planned for Coega could mean that Eskom would have to buy out entire game ranches and eco-tourism operations along the route in the Uitenhage bushveld.

Once again - this is not to provide electricity for ordinary South Africans who do not have access to basic necessities, but to provide a subsidised, "cheap" supply for the double-sized aluminium smelter, ferro-manganese smelter and other industries.

The EIA states that profits from game-related tourism have increased by up to 45% in this area. The potential negative economic impact on tourism and ecotourism will not be eased by changing the route of the lines and affected property owners would have to be compensated for loss of income and loss of value caused by the huge structures running through their farms.

The lines start at Secunda, go through the Free State and transect the Karoo between Victoria West and PE. The final section of the corridor follows the R75 through Wolwefontein, past Kirkwood to Uitenhage - an area where 40% of the land is now being used for game farming, hunting and ecotourism.

Threats to bird life from collisions with the transmission wires are threats to cranes and bustards - according to ACER Africa.

Further meetings are due to be held with all stakeholders early next year.
Interested and affected parties must contact Eskom on (035) 340 2715 or email