Tuesday, October 16, 2012


The spraying season, within De Zalze Estate, has once again commenced for the year, and in this regard The TATIB Foundation has, as expected, started to receive more complaints by  several residents who allege that they have been caught in spray drift.

A few residents sent in photographs, of the pool of  one of  the residents, [ we assume that various photos are doing the rounds as a few residents have sent us the same photos ] , shortly after the spraying of the adjacent vineyards. The residents have described a shiny "oily " residue, in droplet form, floating on the surface of the water.

According to the residents, the Estate Manager was called in to see the evidence of spray drift on this residents swimming pool. He allegedly shook his head in disbelief and then took a sample, to be sent off to Pretoria. 

Given the toxicity of the products sprayed, we have advised the affected residents to take samples of the "oily residue" and to send these off for analysis, and to then also lay charges at the local Police Station.

The majority of agricultural pesticides/fungicides and herbicides used on the vineyards today, are in the form of a liquid emulsion. The active ingredients are often diluted in carrier oils or solvents, which helps them to "stick" to the target area, the vines and their leaves.  Oil floats on water, hence the residue seen floating on the surface of the swimming pool pictured above.

It is a well known fact, internationally, that more than often the inert /inactive ingredients, of an agricultural chemical, are more toxic than the active ingredients.  A common "carrier oil " or solvent used, is Benzene, which is a well known carcinogen.

When oil lands on the surface of a large body of water, like a swimming pool, the oil tends to spread out in a thin layer, eventually coating the entire surface of the pool. If you were to immerse yourself in the pool and then slowly get out, you would find that the oil, thats on the surface, would easily coat your entire body [think of adding a fragrant oil to your bath water and how it clings to you when you get out !]  And so swimming, in the pool above, could result in your being coated [skin, face, hair, eyes, body] in a thin layer of pesticide / fungicide laden oil.  Not an ideal situation !!

If the pool is covered with toxic residue, then what about the lawns, the pool deck, the windows, doors and other household surfaces?

  • Would you want your family, your children and loved ones, swimming in the pool above, knowing that the oily residue on its surface is more than likely spray drift from the vineyards?  
  • Would you be prepared to risk the health and well being of your family?


We have been told that a few residents living in this estate and others estates in the area, have allegedly spent several thousands of Rand on specialists and medication. In photos sent to us by a few residents it is evident that eyes and facial skin have been damaged. Doctors have allegedly advised the affected residents to sell up and move out, and or to take up temporary accommodation during the spraying season.

The HOA, in their newsletter of 7 March 2012, acknowledges that some residents may in fact be allergic to what is sprayed  :

"We request that owners co-operate to minimise any adverse reactions on those who are allergic to spraying, by heeding the 48 hour notices, closing doors and windows during periods of spraying and not venturing outside " 

Is this an acknowledgement, by the HOA, that their products could indeed cause an adverse reaction, and that as such they are advising the residents to stay indoors and not venture outside ?  So does this mean that one should avoid using ones swimming pool too, even hours and days after the spraying ? Clearly there is spray drift on the pool surface and so we guess that the pool is now also not safe to use ?

The photos below, show swollen and severely affected eyes as a result of  exposure to the residues that blow in from the vineyards.These photos are "doing the rounds" within the estate and were sent to us by a few residents.


The TATIB Foundation is in possession of some of the notifications that have been sent out recently with regards the products that have recently been sprayed.

We can confirm that the following have been sprayed :

  • DITHANE M 45
  • KOCIDE 2000

This product contains Mancozeb [Manganese] which is a heavy metal and known neurotoxin. After further international studies, Mancozeb, the active ingredient of Dithane, has been found to be a carcinogen, a developmental / reproductive toxin and an endocrine disruptor.

The Product Label can be found here  :  http://www.scribd.com/doc/110283676/Dithane-label1
Note the special warnings :

Do not enter treated field/orchard until deposit has dried unless wearing protective clothing
Do not spray over water or allow spray drift onto water or adjacent areas not under treatment

By allowing spray drift to occur, ie for the product to get blown into peoples homes and gardens, the HOA is contravention of Act 36 of 1947 as they have ignored the statutory warnings on the Product Label.

The MSDS can be found here :


The Product Label and MSDS can be found here :



Note the special warnings that the product will cause substantial & serious damage to eyes and skin and that Dupont has classified this material as a known carcinogen

We could list the details and special warnings of all the other products, but dont want to burden you all with the same old toxic side effects. We suggest that you do your own research.

By allowing spray drift to occur, ie for the product to get blown into peoples homes and gardens, the HOA could very well be in contravention of Act 36 of 1947 as they have allegedly  ignored the statutory warnings on the Product Label.

The HOA appears to have got itself an attorney who is now allegedly threatening all, who have complained, with legal action should they not stop complaining, about their exposure to the unlawful spray drift.

The HOA have  allegedly admitted in writing that there is "spray drift" occurring within the estate and has advised the residents to stay indoors and to keep windows and doors closed during the spraying.  Is this not an admission that [a] spray drift is taking place  [b] that there could be an adverse and or allergic reaction to some of the compounds used ???   They have also allegedly advised the residents not to swim, in their own pools, after spraying, as the oily residue floating on the surface of the water could very well contain the active ingredient of what was sprayed.

So if spray drift , of potentially toxic agricultural chemicals is in fact taking place, resulting in "fall out"  in peoples gardens, pools and homes, then the law is being broken and the spraying is unlawful - certainly under Act 36 of 1947.

You would think therefore, that the HOA and its savvy attorneys, would rather want to continue in a law abiding manner, to stop all unlawful spray drift and to put the health and safety of the residents [ who pay their salaries ?] as priority number one, instead of threatening them , and anyone else who complains, with legal action.  Just what is it that they have to hide, if anything ?

Would it not be best for them to cease all unlawful spraying until such time as less toxic, less harmful alternatives can be found ?   

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


For almost 3 years now, The TATIB Foundation has been receiving "requests for help"  from Residents of DeZalze Estate, following their alleged exposure to potentially toxic spray drift.   In this regard we have investigated the matter and have, over the past  34 months, received an "unofficial"  list from numerous residents within the estate, of what has allegedly been sprayed.

This is what we have so far :

Azinophos Methyl
Kaptan Flo
Manganese Sulphate
Nitrate & Runner
Penncap M
Roval Aqua
Roval Flo
Sovrin Flo
Zinc Oxide

In order to get an official list of what has been sprayed, we have asked De Zalze Estate Management,  and the HOA,  to supply us with a list of what they have sprayed, what they are currently spraying and what they plan to spray, with the hopes that they would be open and transparent.  To date they are refusing to supply us with this list.

In order to encourage all concerned, to be open and transparent, we had also requested that a "public meeting" be held between the concerned residents, the HOA,  De Zalze Management, Stellenbosch Municipality and the relevant Government Departments, again with the hopes that the well documented problem of spray drift within the Estate, can be resolved in an open and transparent manner.

In this regard the HOA have rejected our requests for an open and transparent  public meeting and have instead, on 13 July 2012, met separately with those residents who have been "most vocal".  TATIB has received feedback, from a couple of residents, that they felt threatened and intimidated at the meeting of 13 July, that they have been "bullied"  and that a "divide and conquer" strategy had been employed.  They have also stated that they were allegedly threatened with a damages lawsuit should they continue to complain about the spray drift.

On 01 August 2012, we received a letter from the HOA [click here   http://www.scribd.com/doc/102421519/DeZalze-01082012  ]  , in which they seem to continue to evade the issue, refusing yet again to supply us with a list of what they have been spraying, furthermore stating that this "historic information" has previously been submitted to affected residents.  How is TATIB expected to verify the "unofficial list"  if the HOA are refusing to confirm or deny that OUR list is correct or incorrect, by supplying us with their official list ?

  • Why are they refusing to hold a "public meeting " ?  
  • Why meet with the complainants separately ?
  • Does their letter of 1 August 2012 contain thinly veiled threats of legal action against us, and all concerned, should we continue with our expose of the matter?

Previously the HOA had stated that Stellenbosch Municipality had conducted some experimental spraying, within the Estate, on 16 April 2012.  David Beretti,  Stellenbosch Municipal Manager has in writing denied that any such spraying took place.

The HOA have made mention of a 10 M "buffer zone" being implemented between the vines and the windows / front doors of the residents. Yet it has been alleged that Kobus Hartman, an agricultural expert, has stated that a buffer zone of at least 30 M should be implemented.

  • If they are spraying within the ambit of the law, and as such there is no unlawful spray drift, why implement a buffer zone in the first place ?
  • When we initially complained to the HOA in late 2009, they decided that given the large number of complaints that they had received from affected residents, they would convert to an organic method of pest control. In this regard they allegedly switched to Oneosan for a period of time before going back to conventional chemical spraying.
  • Is money more important than human health ?  The HOA has previously stated that it is not "financially viable" to spray the vines by hand, nor to convert to an organic system of crop protection.
  • Are the vines within the Estate planted for commercial or decorative purposes. ie are they financially viable?  If not then what is the problem with not spraying them ? ie nothing to lose ?

Take a look at the attached photos below, and decide if there is a sufficient buffer zone between the tractor and the homes of residents. Bear in mind that spray drift can be blown over a distance of more than 150M, depending on the droplet size and ambient weather conditions.

It is clear than a 10M buffer zone - from the vines to people's windows-  will not be sufficient enough as it will not prevent spray drift from entering residential gardens, where the potentially toxic residues will come into contact with the residents, their pets and their children.

  • Should potentially toxic agricultural chemicals be sprayed in such close proximity to peoples homes and gardens ?
  • Should the Estate convert to organic, less harmful forms of "pest protection", as requested by the residents?
  • Is spray drift unlawful?
  • Would you have purchased into a working Estate had you known that potentially toxic agricultural chemicals would be sprayed so close to your home ?  
  • The HOA seems to believe that as the vineyards were already in place, when you purchased your property, that this means you have to accept the fact that you may be  exposed to spray drift of potentially toxic chemicals.
Spraying season starts again shortly and with it we will no doubt receive yet more complaints from residents.

Thursday, March 8, 2012




 Following the launch of The TATIB Foundation in Stellenbosch in late 2009, a large number of residents from DeZalze Estate, Stellenbosch, contacted us for help with their exposure to the spray drift and potentially toxic residues of what was sprayed on the vineyards, olive & citrus trees and other ornamental trees and shrubs within the estate.


Allegations were also made, that Azinphos, a highly toxic organophosphate poison, developed as a result of  WWII,  had been sprayed on the olive and citrus trees that had been planted in and around the houses.

The TATIB Foundation investigated the issue and it was confirmed that Crown Landscaping, the contractor responsible for the maintenance of the estate and golf course, were also the company responsible for the application of agricultural chemicals [pesticides / fungicides / herbicides] onto the golfing greens, trees and shrubs within the estate. The Home Owners Association had also confirmed that Azinphos had indeed been sprayed, but undertook to cease all spraying of this deadly pesticide after we had notified them of how toxic it really was.

Azinphos has been classified as a Class 1B Highly Hazardous pesticide by the World Health Organisation and National Department of Agriculture. Its certainly not the type of pesticide that should be sprayed within a residential estate where the residents and their children will come into contact with its toxic residues.

The Product Labels and Material Safety Data Sheets for Azinphos are available  here :

Take note of the special WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS with regards to human exposure to this pesticide and the negative SIDE EFFECTS following exposure to this toxic and deadly organophosphate.

Following our investigation and subsequent "intervention "  with this issue in late 2009  & early 2010, the HOA decided to listen to our advice and implement some changes with regards the use of agricultural chemicals within the estate. They not only undertook to stop the use of Azinphos, but also to use less toxic alternatives on not only the ornamental trees and shrubs within the estate, but also on the vines.  In this regard they were advised, by the experts with whom they  had consulted, to use Oenosan a harmless natural organic compound, on the vines.  They also implemented a "Notification Programme"  whereby each and every resident would be notified, in writing in advance of any spraying.  This information was also published on the estates website prior to any spraying.

Assuming that the complaints and issues had been resolved, The TATIB Foundation stepped back and tackled other issues of concern.  That was until we  again started receiving a number of complaints, from a large number of concerned residents, in early March 2012.

The complainants forwarded to us, copies of  recent corresponnce received from the HOA,  in which it was stated that they had  stopped using the harmless Oenosan , and had reverted to using conventional agricultural chemicals & spraying methods  to control the diseased vines within the estate.

The HOA published a "Viticulture Notice"  on 07 March 2012 notifying the residents of the new changes . The notice can be found here :

It is interesting to note  that the HOA acknowledges the fact that the homeowners had complained and were concerned about the health hazards associated with conventional spraying and that because of this the HOA had decided to use Oenosan.  The HOA then goes on to state that the homeowners bought into the estate at a time when the vineyards already existed. In other words "the vines were here first and if you dont want to be poisoned then you should never have purchased a property within the estate"


Whether or not the farmer or the vines were there first is not relevant under South African law. If the vines and other plants are being sprayed in such a way that,  spray drift and residues of potentially toxic agricultural chemicals,  get blown into peoples houses and gardens, then  the law, in this case Act 36 of 1947 has been broken and the spraying is thus unlawful.

The recent complaints, by a large number of concerned residents, also included photographic evidence of the actual spraying process and it is evident that clouds of spray drift will result from the spraying as centrifugal "mist blowers" are being used. These are tractor pulled mechanical "torpedo" like devices that can deliver up to 8000 litres of product [depending on the size of the torpedo shaped tank] per hectare at a jet or nozzle speed of up to 600 km/h .  In other words these "mistblowers"  deliver a lot of product and discharge it at high nozzle speed, creating clouds of spray drift. They are designed to create "mist" and they do this extremely well.


We were also shown photographs of burnt faces and swollen eyes, indicating acute contact dermatitus secondary to exposure to agriculture chemicals. It is interesting to take note that Jurgen Schirmacher [our chairman] and his family had also experienced burnt faces, eyes and upper respiratory tracts following their exposure to the chemicals that were sprayed on the vineyards in Riebeek-Kasteel.


TATIB managed to get an "informal" list of the agricultural chemicals [pesticides / fungicides / herbicides] that had been sprayed within the estate, from some of the residents. We ran the active ingredients through several international toxicology organisations and can confirm that what has allegedly been sprayed will certainly have negative health effects for humans.  We managed to obtain SOME  of the statutory "Product Labels "  & "Material Safety Data Sheets"  of the supposedly "harmless" fungicides recently sprayed,  and took note of the special warnings and precautions clearly stated on them :
  • May be harmful if ingested, inhaled or by skin contact. 
  • Ingestion may cause gastroenteritis with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Systemic side effects may include ringing of the ears, dizziness, elevated blood pressure, blurred vision and tremors.
  • Inhalation may irritate the respiratory tract and cause symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, asthma, sore throat and runny nose, irritation of the nasal mucous membranes, sometimes of the pharynx and, on occasion, ulceration with perforation of the nasal septum.
  • If sufficient amounts are absorbed and inhaled, symptoms may resemble those for ingestion.
  • Skin contact will cause irritation with symptoms of redness, swelling, itching and pain, and also allergic contact dermatitis.
  • Eye contact will cause irritation, conjunctivitis, or even ulceration and turbidity of the cornea.
  • In more severe cases, there may be blood in vomit or black or tarry stools, jaundice and enlarged liver.
  • Blood cells may rupture resulting in circulatory collapse and shock.
  • There is a 21-day “Waiting Period” between spraying the product on wine grapes and then harvesting them. Failure to adhere to this withholding period may not be sufficient to meet export requirements when it comes to permitted residue levels.
  • Toxic to fish, bees and wildlife.
  • Keep out of reach of children, uninformed persons and animals.
  • Re-entry: Do not enter treated area, until spray drift has dried unless wearing protective clothing.
  • Do not spray over or allow drift to contaminate water or adjacent areas.
  • Do not inhale dust or spray mist.
  • Wear protective clothing, suitable face shield and rubber gloves.
  • Avoid drift of spray onto other crops, grazing, rivers, dams and areas not under treatment.
  • Soluble salts are corrosive to mucous membranes and the cornea.
  • Organic copper compounds are more absorbable and exhibit greater systemic toxicity than inorganic compounds.

In light of the information that we had received, and the potential hazards posed by exposure to these products, we contacted the HOA asking for answers. Copies of our correspondence to the HOA can be found here:



 We also received correspondence from Kobus Basson, the owner of Kleine Zalze whom we understand is also an attorney.  Copies of our correspondence can be found here :




We have made it very clear to all concerned that we would like the HOA to arrange a public meeting so that all affected parties could meet, in an open and transparent manner and look at ways of resolving the problem.  We further expressed our wishes that representatives from both the local and district municipalities should attend, together with representatives from the Dept of Agriculture, Provincial Administration and then also the media.


We heard no further response from the HOA following our email of 16 March 2012, in reaction to their email of 15 March 2012.  Our requests for details of what had been previously sprayed and what was being currently sprayed / would be sprayed were simply ignored. 


On 17th April we received a few emails from a DeZalze resident regarding recent spraying of some ornamental trees and shrubs, within the estate, by Crown Landscaping.


We contacted Leon Botes, General Manager of Crown Landscaping [ we only have his email address ] on 17 April 2012  asking him if he  and or Crown Landscaping was a Registered Pest Control Officer in terms of the PCO Regulations of 18/12/2009 and Act 36 of 1947.

The PCO Regs can be found here  :

The latest Pesticide  Management Policy can be found here :

Leon Botes, as expected, did not respond to our email of 17 April 2012 and so on 20 April 2012 we sent him another email .

Both emails can be found here :



In our email of 20 April 2012 we asked Leon to supply us with a list of all the agricultural chemicals that he  and or Crown Landscaping have sprayed, currently spray and plan to spray on the ornamental trees and shrubs in and around DeZalze. We also asked Leon to confirm whether or not he, or his business and or the person doing the spraying was a registered PCO in terms of Act 36 of 1947.

Leon Botes never responded to our emails of 17 & 20 April 2012, instead we received 2 emails from Patrick Holden of the HOA on 20 April 2012

Both emails can be found here :



Patrick Holden, in paragraph 2 of the above letter, makes mention of some "experimental spraying" conducted by Stellenbosch Municipality on 16 April 2012.


In the 3rd paragraph he states that  Mr Botes and Crown are not registered Pest Control Officers, but that all spraying [in the future ?] will be done under Act 36 of 1947  [so it's been unlawful to date?] and under the control and supervision of a Registered Pest Control Officer.

Holden then also goes on to state that they, the HOA, will in the future put up statutory notices and that they will comply fully with the Act [36 of 1947 ] . Is this an admission that previously, over all these years, they have not been complying with the terms and conditions of the abovementioned Act ?


We responded to Holden on the same day via return email asking him to  kindly furnish us with Crown's registered address /domicile where our attorneys may serve papers and also the contact details and names of the directors of Crown as we have been unable to find their details by doing a google search.
Holden replied to our email later on 20 April 2012 and stated  :


We wish to point out that we have to date not received any reply to our letter dated 15 March, in which we asked you, who you were acting for and what your mandate was . For the sake of transparency on your side, please furnish us with this information.
As soon as you advise us of who the complainants are, for whom you act in this matter, we shall favour you with a further response.

Our response to Holden, of 21 April 2012 can be found here.
[please excuse the tabs settings as the pdf converter has messed them up ]


There has been no response, as yet, from the above email


We have given the HOA 10 days, from today, to furnish us with the information that we have requested, failing which they will leave us no alternative but to make a PAIA Application under the Promotion of Access to Information  Act 20 of 2000, which will compel them to furnish us with this information by law.


If they have nothing to hide and truly "pride themselves on proper governance and transparency"  then they should really have no problem furnishing us all with the information that we have asked for.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012


A series of articles appeared in the Constantiaberg Bulletin recently,  following complaints received by a number of residents,  following their exposure to spray drift.

The articles can be found by clicking on the links below :-