Opinions on the pines

Berta van Rooyen, Tokai

Fiona Chisholm has been using her column for some time to promote Parkscape and its goals (“The future of pines,” Bulletin May 11). Representation of facts is therefore one-sided and selective.

Any case can be appealed in the South African judicial system. Ms Chisholm has either not stated the full grounds of reasons for appeal or she overestimates the “comprehensive win with costs” by Parkscape or, for that matter, judgment by any high court in our country. There are examples where judgments have been overruled.

The judgment of March 2017 refers: “approximately 2 000 people”, and not 2 500. (The exaggeration reminds of the “about 300” people attending the money making-Christmas carol event).

It is a well-known fact that people from Stellenbosch and other areas outside the greater Constantia Valley support Parkscape. In opposition stands the
2 500-strong pro-fynbos petition, also mentioned in the judgment.

Fynbos is a national heritage with international acknowledgement. It is also true that pro-fynbos people who attended the Alphen meeting received “thank you” letters for their support for Parkscape… thus putting an affidavit under suspicion.

Ms Chisholm’s worst case scenario regarding the Constitutional Court reads like a threat to SANParks to either submit to talks or…

The Concourt gives the opportunity to actually prove that the permission for dog-walking and recreation was regulated and coated with apartheid privileges – a fact which was written out of the judgment of the honourable judge.

The jubilation of Parkscape after the judgment is understandable. But they didn’t wait to see if SANParks would appeal.

In their reaction, people were encouraged to write letters, to get organised and to oppose SANParks.

Parkscape was thus overseeing the rights of other groups, like pro-fynbos people and cultural heritage rights. Was there any suggestion of talks by Parkscape to avoid an appeal case then?

Margaret Kahle’s appeal to go forward together received no positive reaction from Parkscape, but a letter by a Tokai resident who regards her as an outsider.

Ms Kahle has put in more hours removing aliens from Tokai Park than the majority of Tokai people put together.

Ms Chisholm’s lack of support for Ms Kahle speaks louder than words. Nicky Schmidt went out of her way to publicly denounce Dr Tony Rebelo in this newspaper, calling also on him not to play God. Yet God created the Cape Sand Fynbos without trees. There are Christians following this debate. And there are families behind Dr Rebelo and Ms Kahle.

The personal attacks on pro-fynbos people and members of SANParks are appalling. I would like to include the verbal abuse of SANParks’ staff during their night shift duty in the remaining plantation, end of August 2016. The accusers were mainly white and intoxicated. Does this altogether create the atmosphere for talks?

In the end, Ms Chisholm’s column reflects only a personal opinion. It has however, a negative effect on an already polarised community.

Fiona Chisholm responds: Thank you for your letter. It is always good to hear another opinion.