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Environment spokesperson`s disregard of the environment - DP`s silence deafening

Environment spokesperson`s disregard of the environment - DP`s silence deafening

29 March 2000

The silence of the DP on the illegal use of state land at Grotto Bay by the family of their Member of Parliament, Antoinette Versfeld, is deafening.

Versfeld is a DP Spokesperson on Environmental Affairs yet she regularly uses a house which threatens the breeding ground of an endangered bird species, the black oyster catcher. There are less than 600 pairs of this bird left in South Africa.

Her refusal to get involved in this matter calls into question the DP`s much vaunted battle against corruption. The owners of these houses, including Versfeld`s husband, have refused to demolish these illegal structures despite being asked to since 1982.

Are there double standards for DP Members of Parliament? The ANC calls on the DP leadership to clarify their stance on this matter.

Perhaps this reflects the difficulties the DP has in becoming the political home of dinasours from the apartheid past. Versfeld was a Member of Parliament for the National Party for many years before joining the DP in 1998.

In the past certain families benefited from apartheid by having special access to beaches. Now they want to cling onto these priveleges, while claiming to be part of the new South Africa.

ANC Western Cape Spokesperson on Environmental Affairs and Planning, Max Ozinsky MPL, has written to Stella Sigcau, Minister of Public Works, asking her to take action on this matter.

Ozinsky said in his letter, "The impression has been created that because the family of a Member of Parliament is involved in this issue, the issue is not being dealt with."

The ANC is also outraged at the action of the West Coast District Council in giving these illegal squatters keys to the gate, allowing them to drive vehicles on the beach.

The fact that this decision has not been taken by the Executive Committee or a full council meeting and that a legal contract has been entered into in this regard, leaves the impression that certain people can unduly influence officials at the West Coast District Council for their own benefit.

ANC members of the District Council will be taking this matter up in the next council meetings.

For further comment, contact ANC Spokesperson on Environment and Planning Max Ozinsky, MPL: 082-414-7147.

Issued by:
African National Congress Western Cape

For any media enquiries, contact:
Cameron Dugmore, Head of Dept: 082-894-7553, or
Gert Witbooi, Provincial Media Officer: 082-570-9118.

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