The proposed nuclear power station at Thuyspunt is expected to create 7 000 jobs during the construction stage. Eskom plans to house around 3 500 of these workers in Jeffreys Bay with the rest in other areas of the Kouga.
As only 25 % of these workers will be local it can be safely assumed that the biggest influx of people looking for work that the Kouga has ever seen will take place should Eskom continue with their controversial plans to build the Thuyspunt nuclear power station.
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(Above: Be wary of driving along the N2 if Thuyspunt goes ahead. Nuclear waste that is not stored on site will be transported along the highway as there are no plans to upgrade the railway to handle vast traffic)
Jeffreys Bay was a small, sleepy surfing and fishing village that experienced little in the way of crime up to the early 1990’s. However, the seeds had been sown for the first huge influx of migrant labour when the chokka industry boomed in the 1980’s and fisherman from Kwa Zulu Natal brought their crews with them.
Then the building boom took place which caused a surge of jobless people to leave the rural areas and come to Jeffreys Bay….the promised land.
Literally overnight the small township of Pellsrus grew to include Tokyo Sexwale and Tjoksville and in later years the RDP housing project of Ocean View.
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(Above: Will the infrastructure of Jeffreys Bay handle the biggest influx of people in its history?)
Other areas in South Africa have also experienced huge influxes in the past, with Mossel Bay standing out as a good example of how short term job creation can lead to a long term social problem once construction comes to an end.
According to Elza Van Lingen from the Democratic Alliance, when the Mosgas was started at Mossel Bay 100 000 people descended into that area to find work. There was only work for 13 000 and all 100,000 stayed.
“Nobody has made an impact assessment of Kouga and the available infrastructure. We still have about 3 000 people living in shacks because of an influx when the golf estate was built in St Francis Bay and they have not been provided with houses, or other basic services’” said Van Lingen.
With half the number of jobs on offer at the Thyspunt nuclear power station that could mean around 50 000 more people flocking into the area looking for work that is simply not available.
The already overworked Police in Jeffreys Bay would not be able to cope with another social problem that they will end up having to bear the brunt of. Jeffreys Bay, according to the latest crime statistics experiences an average of around 50 house breakings a month.
This figure is up from the days when the majority of house breakings occurred in holiday homes and locals could sleep with their doors open because there was no crime in Jeffreys Bay.
It is doubtful whether the national leadership of the South African Police has made any plans to build a second Police Station in Jeffreys Bay to try contain the crime wave that will follow thousands of additional jobless people flocking into the town.
As Ms Van Lingen rightly points out, no assessment of the infrastructure of the Kouga has taken place and that includes an assessment of our crime fighting capabilities.
In fact has anybody even taken note that according to the 2001 South African Census there was only 38 people from the rest of Africa resident within the Kouga? That figure is a lot higher today indicating yet another influx that has gone by unnoticed.
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(Above: Do residents of the Eastern Cape really want to deal with removable nuclear waste and how safe is the waste that is being stored on site at Thuyspunt?)