Sea Vista residents divided and confused over Thyspunt

Exclusive article by Bev Mortimer (From the April 2012 print edition)”

There is confusion among the more than 6000 squatters and long time residents of the sprawling township known as Sea Vista on the outskirts of the main part of St Francis Bay, next to the industrial area.
Clearly the residents there, as in the town of St Francis Bay itself, are totally divided on the issue of the proposal to build a nuclear power plant 10 kms from St Francis Bay.
According to Peet Leens the Residents Association chair person in Sea Vista, many of the residents in Sea Vista are ill informed about Thyspunt nuclear plant and its ramifications. “They are confused. They are only thinking of jobs and are unsure or unaware of the negatives of a nuclear power station.”
Leens says the long time, permanent residents who have homes there are now surrounded by thousands of squatters from the former independent states of Ciskei and Transkei. “These migrants have homes in those areas, so if there is a nuclear problem, they can return from whence they came.
“We are stuck here and we are concerned about the negative aspects of nuclear,” he said.
“The people from those areas and from King Williams Town came here just for jobs. And Eskom officials told them in meetings here that they would have plenty of jobs,” he says, believing that those people have been misled.
“The squatters are moving here more and more and they are sitting waiting for the construction of the power station. In the meantime there is already crime in the area as these people do not have jobs at the moment.”
He says the permanent residents, the majority of whom were historically classified as ‘coloured’ people are concerned about the safety of their children and grandchildren in the future. They fear for a nuclear fall out. They believe there will be insufficient jobs to go round and they believe the increase in more job seekers will bring more criminals, drug lords, and prostitution to the area, already suffering badly from crime and drug abuse.
He also refers to Eskom’s own Social Studies in its Draft EIA which lists the bad effects of the development of the nuclear power station in Thsypunt as among others, an increase in prostitution, brothel houses, drugs in abundance, alcoholism and illicit sheebens or taverns.
Peet calls for people to come to Sea Vista to educate the residents there about the real pros and cons of a nuclear power station that could be built so close to them and to spell out the effect of this possible development on their future lives.

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