/ 13 April 2004

Valli bids us au revoir

Few South Africans would deny that during the past 10 years eco-sustainability has been firmly placed on the nation’s agenda. In the first five years of democratic government, philosopher-minister Pallo Jordan prepared the ground for the rise of eco-sustainability. His successor, Minister Valli Moosa, brought a verve and sexiness to sustainable development. Among many other things, he was responsible for the heady days of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

As Moosa takes his leave of office, Earthyear pays tribute to him and his achievements. Our cover features a photograph taken during a tour in 1999 of what has since become the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. The trip took place in the early days of Moosa’s tenure, when there were great expectations of what could be achieved for the environment. Mining the dunes of St Lucia had been outlawed and the minister and his advisers were embarking on ways to provide a more sustainable, ecologically friendly future for the area.

That goal has largely been achieved, as we report, and so have many other of Moosa’s missions. Nonetheless, he has come in for his fair share of criticism and his own wish list of achievements has not been fulfilled. In an interview, he mentions inter alia the failure to set up a Pondoland national park – and the threat mining could pose to that ideal.

Moosa’s successor needs to be a committed, strong leader to take up where he left off and implement his good initiatives. A lot of the necessary legislation and policy has been put in place; now is the time for compliance and monitoring. Because this continuity is so important to an eco-sustainable future in South Africa, Earthyear decided to share with our readers the environmental manifestos of the major political contenders in the 2004 elections.

The ANC manifesto is solid and it is the only one that can be measured against delivery. Patricia de Lille’s Independent Democrats deserve support for serious consideration of the issues involved. It is a pity the Green Party is so under-resourced and places itself on the fringes. We supply the information by which you can measure the parties. It’s up to you to decide.

Earthyear is presently published every second month.