By Hazel Shirinda
As part of Limpopo province community, how do I see the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone and its effects on my community and others in Limpopo province?
The MMSEZ is located some +100km from my town (Malamulele). The activities of the project will affect me and my community both directly and indirectly. While we get water from a dam called Nandoni, our water sources will most likely not be affected by the activities of the project in the short term. It remains to be seen how the MMSEZ could leech aquifers in the region. Many of the people from the villages surrounding mine (well including, my village) work in some of the farms that will potentially be affected by the project and the water crisis. So, this implies potential job losses in the long run when the water challenge really starts to kick in, which will most likely be in a couple of years after the project’s initial operations. It is very likely that the beginning stages of the MMSEZs operations will rely on underground aquifers, while other options are tried to resolve the chronic water shortages issues the MMSEZ operations will raise
What bothers me the most about the MMSEZ? Environmental concerns.
My main concern, as an Environmental Scientist, is the environmental concern that comes with the project. The Limpopo valley is a very rich place with a lot of native fauna and flora that are highly valued by the locals. Now for the commencement of the project, around 109 000 baobab trees will be uprooted and moved to a new designated location. This to me is very concerning, coupled with the fact that many animals will be relocated also, thereby disrupting ecosystems services and functioning.
Limpopo struggles economically. The MMSEZ has been marketed as an opportunity for …