Water Crime

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From: "Morne Viljoen [HQP]" <Morne.Viljoen@consult-cls.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 07:35:01 +0200
To: Trev <4_babich@fishingowl.co.za>
Subject: FW: [envirochat] Assault on Academic Freedom and Water Research - PETITION

Dear Readers

Key Note Address

http://petition.environment.co.za/

Your support

Please sign the online petition http://petition.environment.co.za/ against the suspension of leading and highly respected water researcher, Dr Anthony Turton by the CSIR. Your support will be added to a letter (attached) which will be sent to CSIR spearheaded by a group of environmental NGO's, Academics, Water Researchers, Activists and Organisations. This attempted silencing of the truth about South Africa's water crisis is a major attack on the constitutional right to Freedom of Expression and a major blow to democracy. It is nothing more than a huge cover up for failing and incapable government ministries who are supposed to be dealing with this very real water crisis yet continually assure the public that nothing is wrong. Nobody can allow this type of repugnant action to go unchallenged, so we call on you to please show your support and take 1 minute out of your day <http://petition.environment.co.za/> to sign the online petition <http://petition.environment.co.za/> . Some background information sourced from various articles follows. You can also follow the links below which point to the keynote address that Dr Turton was prevented from delivering. If you are unable to sign the online petition, simply send your details (Full name, Telephone, City, Country and Email) by return email. Additionally please forward this email to your colleagues, friends and family as water issues affect each and every one of us.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has suspended a leading and highly respected water researcher, Dr Anthony Turton over a presentation he was to deliver about South Africa's water crisis at a high level conference last week. The council executive of the CSIR on Friday suspended Dr Anthony Turton, an acclaimed political scientist, with immediate effect, charging him with insubordination and bringing the CSIR into disrepute. His keynote address, A Clean South Africa <http://www.environment.co.za/documents/water/KeynoteAddressCSIR2008.pdf> , was to be presented at the CSIR's "Science Real and Relevant" conference in Pretoria this week, but he was forbidden from delivering it because it contained "unsubstantiated" facts, according to the executive, as well as photographs of this year's xenophobic attacks, which, the executive added, "may disturb people" however Dr Turton's report had already undergone a peer review process and was extensively circulated before the conference. Dr Turton has been prevented from even entering the CSIR campus grounds since Friday.

In his presentation, Turton was to have said that South Africa had run out of surplus water, with 98 percent of it already allocated. And because most rivers and dams were highly polluted, they had lost the ability to dilute effluents. The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa), the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE), the Coalition Against Nuclear Energy (Cane) and the Democratic Alliance have come out in further support of the scientist who was suspended with immediate effect on Friday. They added to calls from the Freedom of Expression Institute and the SA National Editors' Forum that the CSIR had "blackened South Africa's reputation" and acted "to shield the government and themselves from criticism".

Meanwhile, science journalist and former Journalism head of department of the University of Stellenbosch, Dr George Claassen asserted that the withdrawal of the presentation by the CSIR was an "absolute disgrace". "This is a very serious encroachment on academic freedom and the right of scientists to announce their results, no matter how bad those results are for our view of things," he commented. Claassen noted that academic and research freedom was protected under Section 16 of the constitution, which states that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.

Wessa Western Cape's Patrick Dowling said: "It is a hugely important paper <http://www.environment.co.za/documents/water/KeynoteAddressCSIR2008.pdf> that should be aired at the highest decision-making forums." He said Turton's paper was "very much in line with the noises Wessa's been making about water quality and the level of strategic national attention and budgeting that it should have".

Turton's report highlighted that South Africa could be headed for a water supply and water quality crisis that could negatively impact on the economic growth and development of the country, as well as lead to social unrest. The findings conflicted starkly with recent government assurances that South Africa was not facing a water crisis similar to the one prevailing in the electricity-supply sector.

The research report stated that the country had to change its current developmental trajectory and accept that the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgisa) was "simply unobtainable", or had to rethink how it could "mobilise the science, engineering and technology capacity" of the country to support the Asgisa targets. Turton indicated that, if nothing was done, "then we can say, with a reasonable degree of certainty, that social instability will grow and South Africa will slowly slide into anarchy and chaos". He even went so far as to draw comparisons with the recent xenophobic violence.

Read Dr Turton's keynote address at this link (PDF document - requires Acrobat Reader)

Click here to sign the online petition. http://petition.environment.co.za/

if you feel strongly enough either way send us your bouqets or turds

4_babich@fishingowl.co.za

 

 

 

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