Motivation with regard to saving the beaches in St Francis Bay and thus the whole of Kouga and the Eastern Cape’s economy.

by Sandra Hansen

Kouga and the Eastern Cape municipalities and the ANC government are banking on saving the economy of the poor Eastern Cape with the nuclear power station at Thuyspunt off the coast of St Francis Bay. This is not going to happen. The salvation of the Kouga district and thus the Eastern Cape lies in Tourism.

The cost of building the nuclear power station at Thuyspunt off the coast at St Francis Bay will be in the order of two trillion rand currently to build and then subsequently decommission the plant. A nuclear power station has a limited life span at the end of which it has to be decommissioned. This makes nuclear power far too expensive. The cost per megawatt is far too expensive to run. Nuclear power stations in America and Europe have found them unfeasible and are currently decommissioning many of them. The world wants clean renewable power and will force South Africa to go away from running coal power stations and nucleur power stations and to change to use clean renewable power.

The cost of building the power station at St Francis Bay will bankrupt South Africa.

If the project is built, owned and run by a French, Russian or Chinese company the chances of using local labour based on the history of Mudupi and Khusile is dismal. For the cost of building these two power stations they could have built seven if it had been given to a private South African company. To have overseas companies owning and building these important services could be another disaster like the toll roads in Gauteng. The Kouga harbour is a good initiative however it cannot compete with Durban.  It is moving very slowly and the decline of manufacturing is not helping.

The best thing that the Eastern Cape has for it is the natural beauty, environment and abundance of Game Parks, beautiful beaches and historical towns making tourism the most obvious income generator opportunity. The weak rand also influences tourists decision on where to travel and hence the growth in tourism in the area.

The damage to the beaches on the South African coast specifically St Francis bay has to be seriously addressed.  There are many examples of tourism destinations around the world where tourism has died when their beaches have eroded away.  A good example is Durban.  If the beaches there had not been saved the city of Durban would have died and there would be no tourism. The beaches at St Francis bay have now reached a critical point and are basically unusable forcing people to go else where.  There seems to be a general impression that it is up to the residents to save the beaches from this devastation.  This issue can also be turned into a racial issue with respect to demographics but it is not and it could be an argument that it is the wealthy people that will have to dig into their pockets to save the beaches and it should not be. The reason is that a bigger view has to be taken to creating a sustainable community by creating more work opportunities through which there could be an all round all year income stream.

Government must step in and take control of the situation and make improvements as has been done in Durban. A bigger view needs to be taken of the situation. It is not just about repairing the beaches for the locals to use but for the local economy as well as the economy of the whole country.

If Government carries on with the nucleur power station at Thuyspunt, it will be clearly only to hide corruption as is being done in all the other large developments that have taken place in our country. If Government truly wants to grow the Eastern Cape then this is the time to start developing tourism and to immediately initiate saving the beaches.