Kouga Municipality will close the causeway between Aston Bay and Paradise Beach in Jeffreys Bay when water levels are too high and endangers the lives of motorists crossing the causeway.
“An emergency application has been submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) for the breaching of the Seekoei Estuary Mouth,” said Kouga Speaker, Hattingh Bornman.
“Breaching the Seekoei Estuary Mouth without the necessary permission from the Department is illegal and can lead to a fine of up to R500 000.
“The municipality has also reached out to the Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Environmental Affairs, Mlungisi Mvoko, for urgent intervention to effectively address this problem.”
This follows after rain and stormy seas increased the water levels of the Seekoei Estuary to such an extent that the causeway became submerged and had to be closed.
“The municipality has developed the Seekoei Estuary Management Plan in terms of the Coastal Management Act, that was approved by the DEDEAT MEC in June 2019, to help address the dilemma in the long-term,” said Bornman.
“The municipality has, furthermore, applied to the DEDEAT last year for a maintenance management plan to allow the municipality to breach the Seekoei Estuary Mouth when required.
“To date no approval has been granted and the reasons therefore are unknown.”
According to Bornman, the alternative gravel road – the road between Humansdorp and Paradise Beach pass the Lombardini Game Farm – is a provincial road and impassable. The municipality can unfortunately not maintain a provincial road.
“We have requested assistance from the Department of Transport to upgrade and maintain the gravel road,” he said.
“This means that many Paradise Beach residents are, in effect, isolated from the rest of the world due to the unwillingness of the DEDEAT to cooperate in solving the very obvious crisis.
“The municipality has also sought legal advice and will take all steps necessary to make sure the residents of Paradise Beach have access to the economy.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”