Tag Archives: Eastern Cape

Illegal structures on the Eastern Cape Coastline

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Objective of the flight:

The objective of the flight was to obtain aerial footage of illegal development of housing and sand mining within the coastal reserve of the Wild Coast between The Haven and Waterfall Bluff.

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Aerial survey of Denham’s Bustard in the Kouga Municipal Area

Objective of the flight:

The objective of the flight was to record Denham’s Bustard display areas in a study area comprising a rough triangle between Jeffreys Bay, Hankey and Tsitsikamma in the Eastern Cape. This forms part of a larger initiative which is being undertaken by the St Francis Kromme Trust, a registered public benefit organisation concerned with environmental issues in the greater St Francis Bay area, in co-operation with five wind energy developers in the region.

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Wild Coast Monitoring

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Mission: Wild Coast Monitoring
Date: 16 March 2009
Requesting organisation: Department Economic Affairs, Environment & Tourism (DEAET), Eastern Cape
Location: Wild Coast, East London to Margate
Pilot: Reid Wardle

The Bateleurs responded to a request from Rob Stegmann of DEDEA for a flight to monitor illegal building and developments along the Wild Coast, from East London to Margate.  While this was one of many Bateleurs flights for Rob Stegmann, it was the inaugural Bateleurs flight for another new pilot member – Reid Wardle of Stutterheim.  Here is the short report from Reid, followed by an account of the mission from Rob Stegmann:

Photo:  Reid Wardle’s ‘reliable, gentle old lady’, ready for a (very) early morning start.

Report from Reid Wardle

“This was my first mission for The Bateleurs so I was not without a certain amount of excitement. So much so that I prepped the old C-170B on the Sunday evening, and made sure the route was carefully planned and that nothing was left to chance.

Monday morning the 16th March saw me awake at 05h00 and after a quick coffee I was into the aeroplane for a pre-dawn take- off.  It was the first time that I had found it necessary to use the
instrument back-lights on the panel, which amused me greatly.

East London Airport was just stirring when I flew into their CTR (controlled airspace) for a landing to pick up Mr Rob Stegmann (the Assistant Manager, CBE, for DEDEA) and Mr Mbuyiseli Mboya (the Legal Advisor to DEDEA).

Established but un-authorised homes along the Wild Coast

Wild_coast2_16032009“Mr Stegmann  and I held our briefing session and I learned what he required of me.  No sooner had we set off when he started recording unauthorised building sites and other operations in river mouths as close to East London as Sunrise on Sea.  Upon crossing the Kei River, his focus was on sand mining sites, illegal homesteads and other buildings within 1km of the high water mark, plus 4×4 and quad bike trails and damage, as well as buildings which had already been served with demolition orders – in order to monitor compliance with the orders.”

wild_coast3_16032009Damage caused by illegal sand mining on the Wild Coast

“We very quickly developed an idea of what each of us wanted and became very engrossed in the work at hand, while Mr Mboya was asked to log all the co-ordinates of the photographed sites
and their corresponding photograph numbers.

We were blessed with superbly calm and clear conditions which allowed us to perform successfully all the tasks required of us.  Rob’s knowledge of flying limitations and previous flying experience was invaluable during the entire survey.  When we reached Port St Johns, we decided to route direct for Margate to take on fuel, as the constant manoeuvering was taking its toll on our supply. It turned out that we had 34 litres in the tanks – which translates to just over half an hour of usable fuel.

A quick juice and a snack at the Margate airport restaurant and we were airborne again and completed the survey in the area to the north of Port St Johns.”

wild_coast4_16032009An un-sanctioned road close to a river on the Wild Coast

“Just south of the Magwa Tea Estate we had to perform a grid search of sorts for a road under construction about which the Department had received complaints.  We found it – photographed and logged it  – and happened upon another which was in gross violation of the law.  After giving it the same treatment, we routed directly for East London, deviating occasionally to log and photograph various sites which we had missed on our way up.

We were forced to fight a strengthening south westerly wind all the way back and had East London control commenting with amusement on our multi-stage landing in the old tail-dragger.  After dropping off Rob and Mbuyiseli (by now we were all on first name terms), I had a pleasant flight back to Rexfield (home), landed and had enough time to wash the salt from the sea haze from the bare aluminium of the Cessna – ensuring that my beautiful lady can maintain her condition for another 57 years!

All in all it was a wonderful experience, from which I learned a great deal and felt just a little useful in doing something for the protection of our wonderful Wild Coast.  The experience was a privilege and I have new respect for people such as Rob Stegmann and Mbuyiseli Mboya who are so committed to protecting our heritage. I wish them every success and hope that they are encouraged by the results that this flight will yield.”

Wild Coast Monitoring

Mission: Survey of Illegal Cottage Developments on the Wild Coast
Date: 24 July 2008
Requesting organisation: Department Economic Affairs, Environment & Tourism (DEAET), Eastern Cape
Location: Wild Coast
Pilot: Barry de Groot and Peter de Villiers

Our latest flight to survey illegal cottage developments on the Wild Coast was undertaken by Bateleur pilot, Barry de Groot and his colleague, Peter de Villiers.  This is the report from Barry:

“Our brief was to collect Ruaan Botha of Cape Conservation plus a member of the South African Police Service, at the Mthatha airport. There was to have been a third observer from the legal fraternity but he was in court on the day.

The flight to Mthatha was smooth in the early morning air, and flight time was 1 hour 20 minutes.  After refuelling and meeting  the passengers we were airborne out of Mthatha, routing down the Mthatha river valley and intercepting the coastline at the river mouth, at which point we headed south coastwise to Kei river mouth. No sooner had I trimmed ZU – AFP to a comfortable cruise speed at 500 foot above the beach when Ruan was asking to divert and circle over an illegal dwelling under construction among the sand dunes. Photographs and GPS co-ordinates were taken before continuing on our way. This diversion to take photographs and co-ordinates was repeated several times along the route.

Once we reached the Great Kei river mouth we swung the trusty Cessna 172 through 180 degrees and headed north east back up the coastline passing the Mthatha river mouth and continuing on past the magnificent Waterfall Bluff and on to Mkambati where we once again turned through 180 degrees and headed back to Mthatha routing via Port St Johns. The entire inspection of approximately 480 kilometers of coastline taking at least 20 photographs of infringements at various sites took exactly 3 ½ hours.

After further upliftment of fuel in Mthatha at R16.03 per litre, saying goodbye to Ruan and Ishmail, we had a most enjoyable one hour and twenty minutes flight back home, content in the knowledge that we had just completed another successful Bateleurs mission.”

Following this flight The Bateleurs received a thank you message from Ruaan Botha:

“I would just like to thank you, Barry, for your assistance with the flight, and tell you that the data we recorded is helping me very much.  I would also like you to tell the co-ordinator of The Bateleurs that I really think what you guys are doing for this department cannot be measured in money or words.  Without your assistance with these flights, we as a department would not be where we are currently in relation to coastal management along the Wild Coast.

I want to applaud you and all your colleagues for the wonderful work that you guys are doing.”