4x4 Ruffians in South Africa

Aug 18, 2001
Los Angeles, CA

Tue, 12 Nov 2002

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No place in SA for 4X4 ruffians - Moosa
Posted Tue, 12 Nov 2002

The four-by-four "ruffians" who insist on driving their vehicles across beaches, destroying fragile ecosystems in the process, have no place in South Africa, according to Environment Minister Valli Moosa.

He was speaking during debate in Parliament on the National Environmental Management Amendment Bill on Monday.

The draft legislation — dubbed "the four-by-four bill" ? seeks to give legal certainty to the original act, gazetted earlier this year.

According to an attached memorandum, the bill aims to "provide expressly for measures to prohibit, restrict or control activities which are likely to have a detrimental effect on the environment".

Moosa told MPs in the National Assembly that people should not be allowed to wreck South Africa's beaches by driving their vehicles "willy-nilly" across them.

He said all parties in Parliament were at one on the message being sent to "those who have a disregard for the environment and insist that they have a right to drive their vehicles across sensitive ecosystems".

"We want to protect our environment, and those ruffians who insist on driving their bakkies on the beaches have no place in this country," Moosa said the draft legislation allowed for certain exemptions.

This included permission to operate on beaches vehicles driven by disabled people, scientists and researchers, or by law enforcement and safety and security personnel.

"Certain very carefully considered exemptions will be allowed, including for bona fide sporting activities, such as tournaments that are held under the auspices of the department of sport and recreation.

"But I must make it clear that these exemptions will be few and far between. The idea of exemptions is not to make the exception the rule, once again," Moosa said.

Democratic Alliance MP Janet Semple said the legislation had "caused a good deal of concern and anger among those who have become accustomed to free access to beaches in their four-by-four vehicles".

But the "reckless destruction of our beaches by irresponsible elements in our society must be stopped".

She said all true conservationists would welcome the legislation.

The DA would support "any legislation which advances acceptable and reasonable measures to preserve our irreplaceable and fragile natural environment", Semple said.

Moosa, replying to a call by the Inkatha Freedom Party's Lindiwe Mbuyazi to allow four-by-four vehicles onto the beaches of the St Lucia Wetlands National Park, said he could not allow this.

While recognising the economic hardships being endured by the people of the area, attracting this type of tourist was not the answer.

"We don't need people to come there to wreck those beautiful beaches... ," Moosa said.

All parties in the House endorsed the measure.


Looks like offroaders VS environmentalists, is not unique to USA.

"Go for the Gusto, Go for the Overall"
-- Robby Gordon, SCORE off-road champion