Background - Roots of the SVA

During the EIA process existing users expressed concern regarding loss of the beach and loss of access to safe water for launching and undertaking water sports and recreational activities.

The Social Impact Assessment that was prepared as part of the EIA process and was undertaken by the University of KwaZulu Natal who were appointed by the developer recorded the social importance of Vetch’s and highlighted the fact of the many user groups that the study interacted with, only the developer was in favour of the Small Craft Harbour.

The EIA Report largely ignored these concerns and recommended that the development be allowed to proceed.

The Record of Decision (RoD) as issued by the then Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs on the 13th February 2009 approved the destruction of the beach.

In answer to the RoD fourteen appeals were made against the decision by a diverse group of individuals, clubs and associations who’s common aim was to save the beach. 

Appellants included;

  • Coastwatch KZN and the Wildlife Society of South Africa
  • Sailing KwaZulu Natal on behalf of South African Sailing
  • The Point Yacht Club
  • The University of KwaZulu Natal Yacht Club
  • The Durban Paddle Ski Club
  • The Subsistence Anglers Union
  • The Surfers and Wind Surfers Association
  • Anthony Sim
  • William Kieser
  • Chris Sutton
  • Jon Marshall
  • Jean Lindsay
  • Clinton Crystal
  • Tim Wickham

Appeals were argued on procedural grounds, on economic grounds, on the lack of consideration of likely impacts  and on the basis that water sports and recreational activities would be curtailed by loss of the beach and safe access to the sea.

Despite the time and care taken in preparation of the many arguments against the development, on the 6th August 2009, Lydia Johnson, the then Provincial Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs responded to the appeals confirming that she had found that “the appellants ground for appeal do not have any merit”.

Some people thought that this was the end of the story and the developer could proceed with destruction of the beach.

However, the EIA appeal process had focused the objectors and brought them together. 

Feeling was also running high due to the way in which the Minister appeared to have treated the appellant’s arguments. There was also suspicion that the RoD and the dismissal of appeals had been influenced by arguments other than the interests of the people of South Africa.

This led to twelve of the appellants forming the Save Vetch’s Association with the common aim of taking on the fight to save vetch’s beach.

Since the formation of the Association in late 2009, the generosity of supporters and the determination of the individuals involved has ensured that the beach has remained.