Killing the Holy Ghost: Inside the R145bn plan that would destroy the Limpopo River

By Kevin Bloom

When Vasco da Gama anchored off the mouth of the Limpopo River in 1498, he named it Espiritu Santo. Around 520 years later, a Chinese businessman wanted by Interpol would do a deal with the South African government to build an 8,000ha Special Economic Zone on the river’s southern bank. The dealmakers would keep many secrets from the ancestral claimants to the land, including their unholy plans for a coal-fired power station. 

I. Points of Power

There were many things that the 67-slide PowerPoint presentation failed to explain, but the most glaring omission was the likely impact on the Limpopo River.There was, for instance, an artist’s impression of a 3,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant, but nowhere in the slides was there an indication of what this would do to Africa’s eighth-largest watercourse.

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