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.



  1. We have lived in the Estate for several years and have suffered bad health as a result. Please help us and advise us how we can protect ourselves from the poisonous onslaught. We are waiting for more information on what is happening please post soon.

  2. both of us and our children have suffered with extreme allergic reactions since moving to the estate. the vineyards are sprayed in very close proximity to homes - vineyards should never have been planted near homes and should be taken out and replaced - as the pesticides used on the vines have serious long-term effects on mortality and health. HOA please do something about the safety of the residents!

  3. We have invited the HOA and Kleine Zalze to arrange an open meeting where all affected parties can discuss this matter with the aim to finding a solution to the problem.

    Alas the HOA have not responded and it would appear that they have no intentions of engaging with TATIB, nor the affected residents.

    Again we remind them and all concerned, that spray drift into peoples gardens and homes is unlawful spraying under Act 36 of 1947

  4. we have been living on the estate for a few years and have noted the alarming poisonous spraying programmes (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides) - the golf courses are sprayed, the plants (agapanthus, etc) are sprayed with poisonous pesticides, the olive and citrus are sprayed , the vines are sprayed every fortnight for approximately 7 months of the year - sometimes meters away from innocent home owners and their children who are powerless against the Hoa that decides about the spraying. How is it possible that other persons (HOA board members/management can decided that toxic poisons will be sprayed and we as home owners can't stop this - where are the environmental attorneys????. It is a very scary situation, it seems, as it adds up to a lot of toxins contaminating the serene and truely beautiful environment. I call on the HOA BOARD MEMBERS TO STEP FORWARD AND STOP THE SPRAYING ON THIS BEAUTIFUL ESTATE as affected people will start sueing in future. We were never informed that the vines will be sprayed when we bought on the estate and that the air will subsequently be contaminated. Who is going to rectify this precarious situation that is harmful to residents' health in the long run.

  5. Vandat ek 'n jaar gelede in De Zalze ingetrek het, lei ek aan erge sinus en lugwee infeksies, wat gepaard gaan met rooi branderige oe. Ek het voorheen ook in Stellenbosch gewoon maar het nooit enige van hierdie simptome gehad nie. Ek was nooit bewus hoe gevaarlik hierdie spuitstowwe is nie. Ek hoop en vertrou dat die HOA binnekort dringend aandag hieraan sal gee.

  6. Well done TATIB, it is about time that someone exposed these people!

    It will be interesting to see how they now respond.

    How could they have knowing employed a company that was not a registered pest control officer for all these years ?

  7. Who is going to be accountable for the deterioration of our health when health problems start to present themselves a few years down the line? (cancers, parkinsons, altzheimers, immune system breakdowns) Who shall be sued?????How on earth is it possible that the Hoa Board/Management (?) or whoever is responsible could allow all these toxins to be sprayed in such close proximity to children, babies and parents? People have complained over the past years and not much was done until Tatib stepped forward. Hooray!!! Hoa Board members pls step forward and be counted and stop this toxic environment as we are exposed to the golf courses, certain plants, vines, citrus and olive trees being continuously sprayed. A very very toxic environment indeed. People buy here because they want to get away from the polluted city, crime and the rest. And then here, in this piece of paradise, they must learn there is a new and unseen odourless danger lurking ---- poisonous spraying which can ruin their lives further down the line.

  8. We are hoping that the HOA will be prepared to call a public meeting, so that all the concerned residents will have an opportunity to talk about this problem in an open and transparent manner.

    We have asked the HOA to also supply us with details of what they have been spraying - the name of the product and its manufacturer. We need this information so as to see how toxic the products are and then also what side effects they will pose to those exposed.

    Lets hope that the HOA is prepared to be open and transparent and supply us with the information that we have asked for.

  9. It is astounding that patently dangerous practices such as these are perpetrated by home owners associations and indeed allowed by local authorities and/or governmental agencies. It smacks of prima facie direlection of duty if not complicity. It's ultimately incumbent upon citizenry to save the day - but what's new, right?

  10. Patently dangerous and unlawful!! After all it has now come out that those doing the spraying are not registered Pest Control Officers as prescribed under Act 36 of 1947 !!

    We are awaiting feedback and confirmation from Stellenbosch Municipality that they, the municipality, did some experimental spraying within the estate on 16 April 2012.

  11. Die DE ZALZE HEV Raadslede behoort eenparig te bedank nav die skokkende feite oor die giwwe wat in De Zalze oor die afgelope jare gespuit is - aan die lig gekom het nadat vrae begin stel is. Mens kyk na die mooi omgewing waar inwoners is nie bewus van die toksiese omgewing nie. Waarvoor is die Raadslede ingestem? Dis immers om die belange en gesondheid van inwoners wat peperduur betaal om in die landgoed te woon in die eerste plek op die hart te dra. DIE HEV RAADSLEDE HET NA BEWERING HUL PLIG OM DIE GESONDHEID VAN INWONERS BO DIE VAN WINGERDE EN PLANTE TE STEL VERSUIM EN BEHOORT TE BEDANK.

  12. Stellenbosch Municipality have not bothered to confirm if they indeed did experimental spraying within the estate on 16 April. Their legal department is remaining silent on the issue ..... we wonder why ??

    DeZalze HOA have not furnished us with the details of what they have been spraying within the estate, both currently and in the past, nor what they intend to spray in the future.

    What they however have done, is to inform us that they have handed the matter over to their attorneys "Werksmans" Pierre Le Roux, whom we have subsequently been informed, via the "wingerd stok" , is a resident of the estate ..... makes one think does it not?

    Why dont they want anyone to know what is being sprayed ?

    Could it be because the ingredients can be scary and that they dont want the residents to start researching them?

  13. Whats been happening on De Zalze is a disgrace and shocking. We have family who are residents on the estate and they have been quite ill with allergies since moving to the estate. It just illustrates that one cant trust other people to look after your health and safety - even on such a prestigious estate. It is time that these "breaches" are brought to the notice of the general public and residents.

  14. Yes, it is a disgrace and the HOA should listen to the residents and stop using potentially toxic chemicals.

    Why have they not yet furnished us with a list of what they are spraying?

  15. Good question. They probably want to keep us all in the dark with regards what they are spraying or what they should not be spraying.

    So much for transparency.

  16. The HOA Board Members and Secretary should all resign as it appears that they are ultimately responsible for what is being sprayed on the Estate. Home owners are completely ignorant as to what has transpired re the poison spraying near homes and their health jeopardized. It is unacceptable that such a prestigious estate is embroiled in such a "toxic scandal"

  17. They have still not furnished TATIB with details as to what they have been spraying and have instead informed us that they have handed the matter to their attorneys.

    This is certainly not being open and transparent is it ? Nor does it show that they have any intentions of cooperating.

  18. Good morning,

    I am the french correspondent here for our 24 hours channel France 24.
    We would like to do a programm on poisonning with pesticides in the Stellenbosh aera.
    Could you please let me know who I must contact for interviews ?
    Thanks for your answers


    Caroline Dumay
    France 24
    Southern Africa Correspondent
    +27 82 4525988
    +27 21 7904253

  19. very soon - in August - the spraying of the vineyards in close proximity to home owners of De Zalze will start and ignorant, innocent people will be exposed to polluted and toxic air. The Hoa seems to be diddling while Rome is burning...


  20. Have there been any recent updates on this debacle? My son who visits us regularly on the Estate, stayed overnight recently (they are currently spraying) with some pretty dire consequences (stomach pains, sore back, nasal congestion).Having come across this website I sent him to a local practitioner who confirmed that it was 'highly likely' that his condition was as a direct consequence of exposure to the Estate spraying program. Last year I personally suffered an unusually severe stomach condition around the same time and, after reading submissions on this website, linked the two together as I regularly run and ride through the vineyards. Is there anything being done about this or has the 'take it or leave it' mentality prevailed? I would be happy for this to be copied to the HOA but having had some negative dealings with this Association in the past, would prefer to remain anonymous until such time as we are guaranteed some positive progress.Surley there must be a wider group of affected people who would be prepared to sign a petition or stand up en masse against this unfolding health hazard? If it can be proven that this group of people are placing residents health at risk, surely there must be legal recourse against this association?

  21. Hi there,

    Thanks for your comment.

    We have updated the DeZalze issue today. Please see above.

    Clearly, the HOA and or whoever is doing the spraying is unable to prevent spray drift. This of course constitutes a breach of Act 36 and thus is unlawful spraying.

    The vineyards within the estate, are, we have been told, there for "show" and are not financially viable. So why then are they sprayed? And why is the health of the residents, who pay hefty levies, not being considered ?

  22. Hello TATIB!

    Roughly half of the people I know her in Stellenbosch are sick at the moment as a result of Stellenbosch farmers spraying something onto their crops for the last three days; half the people I know are either sick, struggling with severe hayfever symptoms, eyes and noses are burning, immune systems are low, heads and sinuses are hurting.This will have to be changed...I would like to know how we can find out what the harmful chemicals are. Friends and family have seen the farmers spraying the last three days. What can we do?

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hi Sven

      Spray drift is a major problem in Stellenbosch and in this regard we have tried, very hard, to put pressure on Stellenbosch Municipality to clean up its act, and enforce the law. They have admitted that the Stellenbosch air is of an extremely poor quality and riddled with pesticides and fungicides. In fact in early 2010 they had a few meetings at which they discussed the Air Quality Management Plan, and that they had a budget to appoint an officer and to find a solution. Almost 3 years later they have done absolutely nothing.

      We have a pretty much an accurate list of what is sprayed in the area, to be found within the De Zalze stories, here on the blog.

      The farmers, by law, have to tell you what is being sprayed.By law they also have to keep their toxic spray drift in their vineyards. But we all know that is not happening.

      There are major problems in DeZalze, Welgevonden and DeWijnlanden and Stellenbosch as a whole with spray drift and so many sick people.

      Please read though the entire blogspot, as it contains information that will empower you. There are also links to many letters sent to Dept of Agriculture, Stellenbosch Municip and others.

      We will win this battle, with numbers. The more people who become aware of just how toxic spray drift is, the stronger the case. Already there are damages lawsuits in the pipeline and so those creating the unlawful spray drift are about to be sued for millions!!