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Oceanographic Research Institute & Coastal Management Unit, DAEA


A SUMMARY OF THE GUIDELINES FOR THE DESIGNATION OF OFF-ROAD VEHICLE RECREATIONAL USE AREAS IN THE COASTAL ZONE OF KWAZULU-NATAL: A PROVINCIAL STRATEGY.

(For the full the Documents please click the .pdf files below)

RUA Document-V2.0.pdf

RUA Manuscript.pdf

page 1 of 2

The control of vehicles in the coastal zone of South Africa (Regulation No. 1399 of 2001) became effective on 20 January 2002 in terms of section 44 of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA; No. 1-7 of 1998). The new regulations make provision for the declaration, by the Director-General of Marine and Coastal Management (MCM), of recreational use areas (RUAs) in the coastal zone within which vehicles may be used for recreational purposes. Local authorities or the managers of protected coastal areas may apply to the Director-General to designate an area under their jurisdiction as a RUA, if they have fulfilled certain requirements.


These guidelines were devised under the auspices of the Coastal Management Unit in the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs. The guidelines represent a cohesive strategy developed to ensure responsible utilisation of the coastal zone in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) using appropriate scientific and conservation principles. Guidelines for the designation of RUAs along the coast of KZN were governed according to the following rationale:
The new regulations on control of vehicles in the coastal zone impose a general prohibition on the recreational
use of vehicles in the coastal zone (Regulation No. 1399 of 2001).

Off-road vehicle (ORV) use in the coastal zone is not compatible with the natural processes and adaptations of
organisms to this environment.
However, under certain conditions, recreational vehicles will again be allowed onto the beach but their use will be restricted to remain within the premise of the new legislation.
Furthermore, it is preferable to establish fewer, well-managed “heavy use” RUAs, rather than many “low-use”
RUAs.
Launch sites for watercraft are NOT considered recreational use areas and will be dealt with as a separate issue altogether.
People have an inalienable right to the opportunity to escape from the artificial impositions of others, and certain areas must be guaranteed to be free from motor vehicles. Beaches are important open-air recreation sources for most coastal town-dwellers and are regarded as healthy, open places. Consequently, designating RUAs, where ORVs may be used, affects a number of users and user groups and a careful, inclusive approach is needed to accommodate all users when designating these areas. Seven attributes or characteristics of the coastal zone of KZN that would disqualify an area from being considered as a potential RUA were identified. These were:
1. ANY AREA OUTSIDE THE HARD SAND OF THE INTERTIDAL ZONE (THUS DRIVING DURING LOW-TIDE).
2. FRAGILE, RARE, RELICT OR VANISHING VEGETATION SUCH AS ESTUARIES
3. SANCTUARY AND RESTRICTED ZONES IN PROCLAIMED WILDLIFE RESERVES SUCH AS THE GREATER
ST. LUCIA WETLAND PARK.
4. UNSUITABLE PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES OF BEACHES OR NATURAL BARRIERS SUCH AS ROCKY
HEADLANDS AND WAVECUT PLATFORMS.
5. AREAS OF FRAGILE NATURAL FEATURES OR SCIENTIFIC INTEREST SUCH AS TURTLE NESTING AND
BIRD BROODING AREAS.
6. AREAS WHERE USER CONFLICTS ARE LIKELY SUCH AS SWIMMING BEACHES AND OTHER PLACES
OF SCENIC VALUE.
7. UNIDENTIFIED OR UNEXPLORED KEY ECOLOGICAL PROCESSES.
Coastal areas (> 2 km) not disqualified by the seven exclusions, can be considered for RUAs. However, a number of other considerations have been identified to ensure the preservation of conservation and user logic. Thus, in addition to the seven immediate exclusions, there might be other considerations precluding an area from being declared a RUA. The other considerations does not contribute to the “up-front” disqualification of areas but needs to be addressed by the environmental impact assessment that follows the application for a RUA. These other considerations included proposed and desired Marine Protected Areas, subsistence fishing areas and biodiversity targets.

 

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