Legal requirement

Nicky Schmidt, Westlake

It is interesting to note that following on the hearing between SANParks and Parkscape in the Supreme Court of Appeal on Thursday March 1, both Dr Tony Rebelo and his daughter, Alanna van der Linde, of Friends of Tokai Park, have again felt the need to vocalise their opinions of Parkscape in the public domain, and in which they reveal a wilful refusal to perceive Parkscape correctly.

In his letter, Dr Rebelo, mistakenly assumes that SANParks does not need to engage with Parkscape. In terms of the law, SANParks is indeed required to engage with Parkscape and all other stakeholders, interested and affected parties.

Ms Van der Linde in her letter attempts to misguide the public with figures on petitions.

It should be noted that a considerable number of the Peter Linder petition signatories are not from Cape Town or South Africa.

If one is interested in figures, it should be noted that the Parkscape database sits at just under 3000 people, and its Facebook likes sit at over 3000 people. This is no small number and reflects the many people concerned about Lower Tokai.

Alanna writes that Parkscape is “in favour of keeping the pine trees (which they will deny and state that they are only looking for ‘public participation’, ‘safety’ and ‘compromise’)”.

Alanna regrettably refuses to comprehend the Parkscape position. It is not Parkscape’s intention to “keep the pines”. The pines are a crop and will be felled as is the nature of forestry.

Alanna is correct in saying Parkscape will cite public participation, safety and compromise as the outcome it seeks. This is because Parkscape’s vision is people and conservation focused – as made clear on the Parkscape Lower Tokai webpage, where Parkscape recommends, among other things, the planting of Afrotemperate and non-invasive Mediterranean tree species in place of pines.

Taking SANParks to court had nothing to do with retaining pines – it had everything to do with public consultation and the rights of the public to a fair hearing with regard to what it wants to see in Lower Tokai, as is required by law.