South Africa: Healing South Africa's Largest Lake Paradise


Lake St Lucia is the heart of the country's first World Heritage Site, a natural paradise with the potential to rival Kruger National Park and the Okavango as a tourist destination. But local farmers, tourism operators, fishermen and other interest groups are now pushing for a quick-fix solution that threatens to undo decades of conservation work, including a multimillion-rand World Bank project to restore the lake's depleted water levels and ecology.

First published in Daily Maverick 168.

Choking up with emotion at times, scientist Nicolette Forbes took to Zoom last week to urge critics to allow nature - not bulldozers - to heal Lake St Lucia, the largest estuarine lake in South Africa and symbolic battleground between developers and conservationists.

Forbes gave the webinar presentation to members and guests of the Port Natal branch of BirdLife in response to growing concerns about media releases and Facebook posts calling for the mouth to be bulldozed.

This expansive shallow-water lake at the core of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is best known for the titanic clash between conservationists and Richards Bay Minerals during the early 1990s, which led to the historic decision by the newly elected ANC government to prohibit mining and to...

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