11 March 2014 Te Oppidan Press 3
Lining up to march for lions in captivity
Eastside & Westside: Grahamstown water woes wage on
Te water crisis at Rhodes University last year cast a national spotlight on Grahamstown’s perpetual water troubles. Unortunately, what was not brought to the ore was the act that this has been an unending problem or many people or several years. While ‘Grahamstown West’, which includes the RU campus, has had many o these issues addressed, the water crisis in Grahamstown East continues to aﬀect thousands.
At the Grahamstown Residents Association (GRA) Annual General Meeting on 5 March, Grahamstown City Engineer Emmanuel My-alato was invited to report on the current water situation. While he could conﬁdently report that plans have been put in place to ﬁx the crisis, he said that the municipality was ar rom solving the problem. “Until we have enough storage or water and enough pumps working at 100%, the crisis is not over,” said Myalato. “Te time or planning is over, now is the time or implementation.”Te planning Myalato mentions is the ﬁve-year contract that Makana Municipality has signed with quasi-state body, Amatola Water. Tis contract was the result o a presidential intervention last year, when the majority o Rhodes University had been without water or 16 days. Despite the act that most areas in Grahams-town West have elt improvements in the water supply and pressure - which Myalato said was thanks to Amatola Water- the situation in Gra-hamstown East has barely improved. Chairperson o the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) Ayanda Kota said, “I you are well oﬀ and you have been living in the town then you will not be hit as hard as i you are liv-ing in the township.”Kota said that because people in Grahamstown East have been without a consistent water supply or years. Tey have been orced to improvise to keep their homes hygienic and healthy. Some residents have to get up beore dawn just to ﬁnd water or their amilies. Kota said that the crisis began when the quality o water in Grahamstown was declared undrinkable. Babies were reported to have died in 2009 because o the quality o water, although no investigation ever took place. Residents were also reported to have died in ﬁres in 2011 because there was no water or the community to use to save them. “I you go to the toilet, it’s not even that you have the ﬂushing system anymore. You have to use the bucket system - that’s how bad it is,” Kota added.Such problems with the quality and availabil-ity o the water supply still persist in most areas in Grahamstown East. Water, when it does come out the taps, had been reported to be a green or white colour. Although the water is no longer green, people are still complaining o getting sick rom the water - especially in the Joza area. DA Ward Councillor Les Reynolds said that there has been no improvement in most areas. “Tere is not enough water to come into town and to service the absolute growth in Graham-stown East. Joza is very poor when it comes to water supply,” said Reynolds. Other than the growth o Grahamstown East, according to B&B manager Sally Price-Smith, a lot o municipal bungling could have been avoided by consistent structural maintenance. Te municipality, including Myalato, have ofen blamed the aging inrastructure as the source o the problem. Ward 12 Councillor Brian Fargher said, “We have said time and time again: it is not aging in-rastructure that is the problem but maintenance and planning.”Price-Smith reported that when she visited one o the worst-aﬀected water treatment sta-tions - James Kleynhans Water reatment Works - there were Pick ‘n Pay ans cooling the motors. In other cases, the equipment has been lef to gather dirt and sludge. Fargher reported an instance where proes-sional divers were brought in rom Port Eliza-beth to clean the equipment. It took them three days to remove the sludge. In some cases, there is a complete lack o know-how. According to doctoral candidate at the Institute or Water Research at Rhodes Uni- versity Jai Cliﬀord-Holmes, the last complete set o plans or the city were drawn up in the 1970s. Consequentially, the current municipal staﬀ are unable to read the maps or ﬁx the valves. Myalato added that the controlling systems that manage water control and supply have been lef unmaintained and broken. Additionally, the geography o Grahamstown causes a lot o diﬃculty when it comes to water distribution to the entire town. In brie, the water ﬂows past the areas in Grahamstown East to service Grahamstown West and then back up to Grahamstown East. By the time the water returns to those areas at the end o the chain, there is not enough pressure or the water to reach Grahamstown East.“Let me be brutally honest, we are lucky that the olk in Grahamstown East have been so tolerant, because they know that their water is going past them into Grahamstown West,” said Reynolds. “When Rhodes had that crisis last year, they virtually switched oﬀ all the water to Grahamstown East to try and satisy the students.”Reynolds went on to say that C.M. Vellem Primary School and a number o others have not had water or two years.“Te kids go to the loo on the periphery o the playground because the tanks that should be ﬁlled up on a daily basis by the municipality are not,” said Reynolds, “We don’t know how those people battle or water.” Reynolds continued to state that Makana Municipality is lucky to have avoided a cholera outbreak in Grahamstown East and warned that the municipality has to be careul.Tere are plans or a new pump to be installed to ﬁx the water supply or Grahamstown East but the poor water quality is arguably due to the act that the people who operate the water treat-ment works are not doing their jobs properly. Te bulk o the unding comes rom the Department o Water Aﬀairs and various par-ties, including a R75 million rescue package administered by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation. Fargher said Amatola Water has taken control o almost every aspect thus ar as the water supply in Makana Municipality is cur-rently in crisis. Reynolds stated that Makana Municipality has no money, which has serious consequences in terms o the time it takes or the plans Amatola Water and Makana have made to be implement-ed. Tese plans include: expensive inrastructure replacement, the building o reservoirs in order to accommodate the growth o Grahamstown East and general maintenance control upgrades, using new technology and communications. According to Myalato, Amatola Water has also been contracted to manage water alloca-tion, water treatment, water management and to acilitate training or the operating municipal staﬀ. Peter Ellis rom MBB Consultants has been contracted to regulate water pressure and con-servation and to help manage the usage o water. Myalato sounded conﬁdent when he reported that Makana Municipality has given a commit-ment to the annual National Arts Festival and Sciest Arica that they can go ahead and host these big events in Grahamstown, despite the unending water crisis.
Mikaela Erskog Environment
he opportunity to pet lion cubs draws large international crowds, but ew tourists real-ise that these cubs are either products o severe inbreeding or smuggled rom neighbouring countries. Even ewer people are aware that most cub petting is just a means to externalise the costs o rearing adult lions or recreational hunting.
Te Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH) is a South Arican organisation that is ﬁghting to close down what many regard as an inhu-mane economic practice. Due to the poor awareness surrounding this issue, they will be hosting the Global March or Lions on 15 March, 2014 and Rho-des students are invited to participate. Te breeding o lions in captivity or use in tourist and canned hunting industries is a huge problem in South Arica as it is directly contributing to the eradication o natural lions and their genetic integrity. According to inormational website cannedlion.org, there are more lions armed in captiv-ity (8000) than there are lef in their natural habitat (ewer than 4000) in South Arica, and there are only 20 000 natural lions lef in Arica as a whole. Co-ounder o CACH and cann-edlion.org Chris Mercer explains that canned hunting entails the ‘hunting’ o animals that are born and bred in small, conﬁned spaces that barely at-tempt to resemble their natural habitat. Mercer explained how lions develop “captivity depression” - a mental and physical lethargy that is caused by permanent conﬁnement to spaces ar too small or any wild animal, let alone the king o the wild. “Tey aren’t ree to express normal behavior in small conﬁned enclosures. Tey are simply bred to die,” remarked International Animal Rescue Foun-dation (IARF) activist and Rhodes second-year student Emma Tomp-son.Te breeding process not only a-cilitates discomort or the lion but the means by which they are bred is actu-ally destroying the lion species. “You then get crossbreeding or inbreeding that produces what Americans call ‘junk lions’ – ones with compromised genetics,” Mercer elaborated. Te genetic integrity o the animal is lost as inbred animals ofen have recurring health problems, severe deormities and evident disabilities. Tis results in the need to re-intro-duce ‘resh blood’ into the gene pool to counteract the eﬀects o inbreeding - by capturing ree lions and smuggling them rom other Arican countries into South Arica to re-invigorate the canned hunting industry. More problems arise because o this: “As the lions in the wild decrease rom smuggling operations,” explained Tompson, “the more we occupy their area and their natural habitat decreas-es. Tat means then that inbreeding is more likely to occur [in the wild too]. Tis causes massive physiological and behavioral problems between natural prides and decreases their numbers. Eventually, this may lead to stagnation and sterility.” Tis Saturday, the Global March or Lions will be happening in over 40 cities in 18 countries in an attempt to challenge the industry and call or a ban on canned hunting in South Arica. Tompson agrees that this will be a necessary step, arguing that i it is legal to breed lions, it allows or a lot o grey areas and illegalities. Te event is also aimed at creating enough global awareness to stop the international demands that uel the arming o lions. “We want to build an international constituency [and] to use that constituency to close the industry down at the other end,” said Mercer.However, Mercer argues that it is not enough to just ban the practice. He believes that the most viable solutions to this problem are to educate tourists so that they do not indulge in cub pet-ting and to educate volunteers not to patronise any acility that rears lions. He also hopes to persuade the Euro-pean Union to ban any imports related to this industry and to get the United States Fish and Wildlie Services to put lions on the endangered species list. Most importantly, Tompson and ellow IARF activist Kestral Raik both stressed the importance o educating people in a way that promotes critical thinking and engaging with social is-sues. “I you have the capacity to think about it, maybe you should as it’s the only way to sustainably combat these problems,” commented Tompson. “Lion poaching and canned hunting is South Arica’s biggest shame,” Raik continued, stating that the awareness surrounding canned lion hunting is not only low but being actively denied. Tompson described an example o the complete suppression o the cause’s inormation. “A little while ago, at O. R. ambo International Airport, they had advertisements up that had an image o President Zuma, a lion and a gun to its head, and it said ‘Only Zuma can stop this’. Tese were taken down immediately.” Tompson and Raik both agreed that part o the problem acing the dwindling number o lions in South Arica is the lack o correct inorma-tion and awareness available to the public. Te Global March or Lions is an attempt to change this. Join the march to raise awareness o this brutal industry and its problematic consequences. I the lion is worthy enough to grace our ﬁfy rand note, it surely deserves to live a healthy and ree lie.
Lions that are in captivity often develop depression and severe lethargy. Photo: WWW.CANNEDLION.ORG