This might be a reality if the rerouting of the N3 highway from Van Reenen to De Beer’s Pass gets the go ahead. And though these are located in the Drakensberg, they have a lot more to do with you and the rest of South Africa than you think.
Destruction on De Beer’s
De Beer’s Pass happens to be located in the heart of the Drakensberg wetlands, which play a crucial role in managing, at no cost to us, our limited water reserves. Add a four-lane highway funneling the Durban-Joburg exodus and what results is smog and litter, as well as debris and spillages from unfortunately inevitable car accidents.
That’s why Oaklands Country Manor, and the rest of the Drakensberg community, needs your help. Of course, we wouldn’t expect you to sign on the dotted line without reading the fine print first. Here’s what’s really wrong with running a major highway through our pristine wetlands...
Do you want THIS to be near one of your biggest sources of water?
Wetlands offer South Africa a variety of benefits, like filtering our water, promoting biodiversity and protecting our coastline. They also serve a global purpose in mitigating climate change.
But polluted wetlands come with a wide range of problems. Contaminating substances are directly harmful to wildlife and greatly reduce water quality. For instance, chemicals can promote algae growth, which is toxic to some animals and depletes oxygen content in the water.
South Africa is already teetering on a water crisis – Wetland.org.za predicts that at the rate our country consumes water, we will not have sufficient supplies to meet the rising demand by 2025. The construction of the De Beer’s Pass route will only compromise one of the few remaining freshwater sources we have.
Economic and Social Impact
The towns lining the Van Reenen route will feel the immediate effects financially, followed by Durban and Joburg, then the rest of South Africa. It is predicted that with the redirecting of the N3, there will be a 70% loss in revenue that would otherwise be generated from the current traffic on the existing highway. This will also affect the job stability of 1,200 Drakensberg residents residing in Harrismith, Van Reenen, Warden and Swinburne.
The Drakensberg wetlands also offers support to the agricultural and industrial industries in both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the value of which is estimated to be over R150 million per year. In addition to this, the country will have to spend more money to treat the polluted wetlands, making the water consumable again.
A petition with 2,000 signatures representing more than 10,000 people who are directly opposed to the De Beer’s Pass route, but this is not enough to sway the Minister of Transport.
That’s why we invite you to join the Drakensberg community in preserving our pristine, life-giving wetlands.