Kathu, known as “the town under the trees”, came into being as a result of the iron ore mining activity in the Kalahari – an area previously home only to sheep and cattle farmers. Thousands of jobs were created with the opening of the Kumba (Sishen) Opencast Mine and today, almost a third of Anglo America’s worldwide iron-ore comes from there. But, for the past 60 years, as the mine has been drilling deeper and deeper, the surrounding area has become more and more dewatered. When a hole is dug, ground water naturally flows into the vacant space. So this water is pumped out to accommodate further digging. This practise seems to dehydrate the farmlands from right beneath the farmers. The Water Act requires that the mine returns the water extracted to surrounding landowners. But it seems water is coming back contaminated and in limited quantities. Farmers complain there isn’t even enough with which to farm and in places cattle have become sick. Is this conflict a case of livelihoods and a landscape at stake or are their other agendas at play? In light of the Kathu dewatering issue, we speak to Abe Abrahams of the DWA. He sheds some light on the processes involved in mining and water licensing.
Katse Trout Farming
Over the last few years, the aquaculture or fish farming industry has boomed to become an 8 billion dollar industry. With South African’s and the rest of the world eating more and more fish there is the inevitable pressure placed on wild fish stocks. Hence the need for a growing aquaculture industry. The pristine waters of the Katse Dam inLesothohosts Woolworths’ sustainable trout farming operation. The eggs are hatched in Franschoek but trucked to and raised in the clear, clean, cold waters of the Katse Dam. The healthier the water, the healthier the fish. Nets are checked frequently so that no escapees interfere with natural fish populations and daily and monthly checks ensure the fish are healthy. Fish nets are also placed where water flow is high so that no pumps are used and ensuring the greenest farming methods. The end product is outstanding fresh trout, another great example of how Woolworths monitors their supply of ecologically sustainable produce.
Sekgweng – Social networks of the bush
This week Johann explores the social networks of theEastern Capebush when he gets down and dirty in a communal midden. Every animal leaves little clues about what they are up to in the bush, and Johann explains what those clues are and what they say. Living together certainly has its advantages.
This week in VeldFokus we take a look at whole nest full of bird-related entries. Everything from those annoying brood parasites that lay their eggs in other birds’ nests to thieving, double-jointed African harrier-hawks bent on destroying an entire weaver population and a somewhat over-friendly little oxpecker who exchanges its normal herbivorous hosts for a person or two.