The stalemate between Kouga Municipality and the Department of Environmental Affairs has been resolved.
Kouga Mayor Elza van Lingen said the municipality received authorisation from the provincial head office of the Department of Environmental Affairs yesterday afternoon (29 September) to breach the mouth of the Seekoei estuary artificially.
She said breaching the mouth will help to lower the water levels of the estuary and clear the causeway that connects Paradise Beach to Jeffreys Bay. The causeway has been submerged with water for more than a month following unusually high seas in August.
“We are grateful that the Department proved willing to resolve the matter. It was a long and difficult negotiation, but we were able to convince them that the situation at the Seekoei estuary qualifies as an emergency in terms of the National Environmental Management Act,” she said.
“Intergovernmental relations are critical when it comes to governing an area effectively. We are, therefore, glad that we were able to resolve the stalemate amicably in the interest of our communities.”
She said the municipality would commence with the breaching today (30 Sept), with an official from Environmental Affairs supervising the process, as per the authorisation letter.
“Once the water level has decreased, a structural assessment of the causeway will be done as a matter of urgency so as to determine what repairs need to done and how quickly it can be opened for traffic again,” she said.
“We would like to thank all roleplayers for their support and input these past few weeks. There is still a lot of hard work that lies ahead, but we’ve taken a big and important step forward.”