We demand that Swartland Municipality reverse its granting of permits for sandmining on the Paardeberg.
The Paardeberg is a sprawling granitic mountain in the Swartland area of the Western Cape in South Africa, near the town of Malmesbury. It got its Dutch name “Horse Mountain” from the zebra-like animals which once roamed here. Today, the higher reaches are still covered with natural vegetation, but the kloofs (valleys) and lower slopes are home to innumerable grapevines. Rutted gravel roads lead to the dotted farmhouses and wineries. This century, the Paardeberg has been the focus of an extraordinary revolution in winemaking, ensuring that it, and the Swartland have become internationally famous for its wines.
But the rural atmosphere and the viticultural heritage of the Paardeberg is being violently threatened, and the responsible authorities are allowing it to happen.
The Paardeberg is being targeted by sand-mining companies and a few farmers are willing to allow the area to be despoiled in exchange for, of course, profit.
A crucial stage in getting permits for such mining operations is getting permission from the local authorities. Despite detailed objections, the Swartland Municipality has now (February 2017) given permission for mining activities on two farms in the area – an awful precedent: how many more will follow?
Click here to read more and to sign the petition.