Thursday, February 17, 2011

Die Matie

An Article " TATIB takes on Pesticides",  appeared on page 4 of  Die Matie 16 Feb 2011 :

Click here to read the article  :

Or download the PDF from here :

TATIB would like to add a few comments in reaction to the article as follows :-
  1. The STIAS Vineyard is a working, experimental vineyard, and is managed by the University of Stellenbosch according to IPW principles.  The wine produced by this vineyard is going to be sold according to the STIAS Prospectus.  There is thus no disputing the fact that the STIAS Vineyard is thus a commercial agricultural vineyard.
  2. The chemicals that have / shall be used on this vineyard are registered Agricultural Chemicals for Agricultural Use only.
  3. According to two independent Town Planners, and also Stellenbosch Municipality, the erf on which the STIAS Vineyard is planted is zoned "single residential". The current use is thus illegal in terms of the Zoning Scheme Regulations of Stellenbosch.
  4. Both Stellenbosch Municipality and University of Stellenbosch have acknowledged that the erf on which the STIAS Vineyard is planted is "Single Residential".
  5. TATIB received details, from various agro chemical suppliers, of what has been applied to the STIAS Vineyard, and we can categorically say that these products are in fact far from Green / Green Code Chemicals. Two of the chemicals used are known carcinogens and developmental / reproductive toxins and neurotoxins. Freeborough, by making mention of "Green"  is, in our opinion, attempting to mislead the students into thinking they they use green/ environmentally friendly chemicals, when in fact this is not the case.
  6. The STIAS Vineyard Commitee, consisting of both TATIB and University representatives, and under the chairmanship of Professor Mark Swilling, after much deliberation and research, concluded that the STIAS Vineyard was unlawful and that it must be removed and planted elsewhere.
  7. We wish to place on record, that the University Management "tape recorded" the first committee meeting without our knowledge or consent. When we asked for a copy of the recording the University Management refused to give this to us. Just what are they hiding ?
  8. The University Management overturned the decision of the STIAS Vineyard Committee, furthermore lifting the moratorium on the spraying of the vineyard, whilst at the same time "dissolving" the STIAS Vineyard Committee.
  9. Prof Swilling had resigned as chairman, due to strange circumstances, and the belief that the problem was going to become "confrontational" . We feel that pressure was put on him, by the University Management, due to his stance that the STIAS vineyard was not only unlawful, but also not sustainable.
  10. Welgevallen is another experimental working vineyard, situated close to the residential area bordering Paul Roos. TATIB has received a number of complaints from both residents and parents of children, who live close to Welgevallen and or go to Paul Roos, alleging that they have been exposed to large clouds of spray drift.
  11. TATIB investigated the manner in which Welgevallen is currently sprayed, and can confirm that during the process large clouds of spray drift do in fact get blown out of the vineyard and into the streets/ residential area and onto the fields of Paul Roos.
  12. Spray drift, of agricultural chemicals, out of a vineyard and into a residential area is unlawful in terms of Act 36 of 1947.
  13. Freeborough's excuse, that the vineyards are managed according to IPW principles and are GlobalGAP certified means absolutely nothing. GlobalGAP 's inspectorate do not come out and supervise each and every spraying.  TATIB have been down that road before, and have 2 High Court Orders in place, against a Riebeek-Kasteel farmer ( who studied at Stellenbosch) who was spraying his GlobalGAP / Natures Choice certified vineyards in such a way that spray drift, of toxic chemicals, was being blown into the residential area. The farmer, used the same excuse, that as he was certified he could not be breaking the law - yet he lost 2 High Court cases and the DPP, in writing, stated that they would like to see him arrested and brought to Cape Town.
  14. At a meeting in Stellenbosch on 27 Jan 2010, various residents, municipal  & provincial officials met, in order to discuss the well documented problem of spray drift, from the vineyards around Stellenbosch.All present, acknowledged that there was indeed a problem with spray drift and that it was an "air pollution issue". An undertaking was made to implement an "Air Pollution Management Plan" and that the budget for this had been approved.
  15. One year later, Stellenbosch Municipality has not done anything to address the problem, nor clean up the 2.76 tonnes of DTT that are strewn across farm stores in the Stellenbosch area.
  16. When exposed, at the meeting of 24 Jan 2011, Stellenbosch Municipal Officials became very evasive.  As matters now stand, they are refusing to answer questions put to them by Bolander newpaper, nor have they released the minutes of the meeting.
  17. TATIB have now, via the Public Access to Information Act, submitted a letter of demand ( via our attorneys)  for not only the minutes of the meeting, but also details of all the chemicals that are sprayed on vineyards in and around Stellenbosch, and also answers as to why the Air Quality Management Plan was not implemented as promised.
  18. Whilst we all wait for the wheels of bureaucracy to slowly turn, the residents and students of Stellenbosch will continue to suffer from itchy eyes, nasal and sinus problems, dizziness, skin rashes and other problems associated with exposure to agricultural chemicals.
  19. Clearly someone has to cut through the "red tape"  and to do it quickly before even more innocent victims become ill.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo Jurgen,you and Tatib are our environmental guardian angels!