Farmer must pay R1.5m fine for illegal dam

The Cockscomb farmer whose large illegal dam sparked safety fears due to leaks, has been slapped with a whopping R1.5m fine – and many others could be in the firing line.
The farmer, Alastair Rudman, said he planned to appeal against the “ridiculous” penalty – but his neighbours welcomed the news of the fine.
Other farmers in the Kouga region who also built dams illegally have been warned that they could face similar sanctions – or worse.
This comes only a month after the department of water and sanitation revealed that it had found more than 1,000 illegal dams on farms bordering the Kouga River and its network of tributaries, siphoning off water unlawfully.
The leaking dam on Rudman’s land is along the Kariega River and is about 350m by 80m – effectively stopping the flow of water until the water reaches the dam’s overflow point.
A video taken last month shows water leaking out the base of the dam wall – which is several metres high – with large cracks in the concrete spillway and the road.

Farmers in the area have since warned that more rain could cause the dam to burst, threatening human lives and destroying neighbours’ pastures, fences and stock.
The fine was issued after the provincial environmental affairs department launched a probe into illegal water projects undertaken by Rudman on his property, Welgevonden, in the Cockscomb area east of Steytlerville.
Fines can be as much as R5m...

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