UNESCO Steps Up in World Heritage Site Protest in Cape Town

Lewis Pugh is a well known internationally for environmental campaigns and polar swims in very close to freezing water. He also had helping hand in getting a Norwegian fjord, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Online PR News – 26-February-2012 – – The Chapmans Peak saga unfolding in Cape Town, South Africa between Murray & Roberts, toll operator Entilini, Hout Bay residents and the Civil Rights Action Group (Crag) continues to flow.

Toll operator Entilini and its construction partner Murray & Roberts, will proceed with their plans to build Entilini, a brand new office to be situated on the Hout Bay (North) side of the scenic Chapmans Peak, a world heritage site. The controversy continues to reach new highs as the R54 million new office block goes ahead.

Chappies as it is locally known, is a World Heritage Site and a well placed letter by Lewis Pugh, the long distance frigid water swimmer, has brought the controversy to the world stage.

The letter written by Pugh was addressed to Lazare Eloundou, head of UNESCO’s Africa unit of the organisation’s World Heritage Centre. Eloundou replied in an email to Pugh that, the relevant South African Government departments had been contacted for further information pertaining to the situation.

Mr Eloundou also stated, “We are also studying the existing legislative measures protecting Table Mountain National Parks as a World Heritage Site.”

Lewis Pugh is a well known internationally for environmental campaigns and polar swims in very close to freezing water. He also had helping hand in getting a Norwegian fjord, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the email to UNESCO Pugh commented that, “I live in Cape Town and local government want to build a large toll plaza and administrative building in the Table Mountain National Park, which is part of the Unesco Cape Floral Region Protected Areas,”

“Our legal team says this is contrary to South African law. But government are insistent that they will press ahead, and have started laying the foundations. There have been protest marches and a hunger strike but no one seems to listen,” Pugh wrote to Unesco.

In other developments, hunger striker Bronwen Lankers-Byrne, an activist who bravely fought on for 15 days before succumbing to failing health, was the first to take a stand against the building of the new office block.

In an interview with online press she said, “I don’t think the hunger strike was working. They were not taking note of me. Tomorrow (Monday) I will sleep right on the foundation of the pillar to stop them from pouring the concrete.”

Lankers-Byrne, was later joined by a second activist, Fiona Hinds, 49, of Simon’s Town in the South Peninsula. Ms Hynds took a slightly different route and handcuffed herself to the scaffolding supporting the supporting concrete pillars. The concrete had not been poured at this time and Ms Hynds managed to fend off the construction workers for five days before being escorted off the site in handcuffs by police.

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