Residents Jeffreys Bay were joined by international surf community and visitors to the town in a massive display of displeasure with ESKOM’s decision to make Thyspunt the preferred site to build a nuclear power plant.
The organiser of the march which took place on Saturday, Trudy Malan from the Thyspunt Alliance said that the march was held to highlight the flaws in the Impact Studies as well as to oppose the destruction of the squid industry in the region. “2025 people attended the march, signalling to the South African Government as well as ESKOM (the national energy supplier) that we will not just accept the building of a nuclear power station at Thyspunt”, said Malan.
“The decision that Thyspunt was a suitable site to build what will be the biggest nuclear power station in the world was taken in the early 1980’s and no cognisance was taken of the potential impact on the environment in those days. In fact it seemed to have been a political decision based on distance from the existing homelands more than anything else” added Malan.
There was a festive atmosphere during the march with vuvuzelas blowing and marchers joining together to toy toy as the crowd gathered in front of the Billabong factory shop in the main road of Jeffreys Bay. Former world surfing champion Andy Irons joined the march to indicate how the international surf community felt about the building of a nuclear power station so close tot he fabled waves of Jeffreys Bay.
According to Mike Kanty from CANE (Coaltion against Nuclear Energy), the march was certainly the biggest ever held in South Africa. Young and old joined together to attend the protest as even the youngesters in the Jeffreys Bay community could realise what the potential impact will be on their environment and the potential loss of jobs in the area.
The squid industry also joined the protest with about 20 chokka boats leaving the fishing fields to anchor off Supertubes on Saturday morning to indicate their solidarity with the marchers.
The Kouga municipality executive mayor, Mr. Robbie Dennis was on hand to receive the memorandum from Trudy Malan and said that is was clear that the community was unhappy with ESKOM’s plans and that action needed to be taken to ensure that the community was involved in the decision making process.