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Karpowership to Procure and Offer Famed Game Reserve to Government as "Ecological Compensation

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The internationally renowned floating power plant company, Karpowership, is engaged in negotiations to acquire the Madaka game ranch, a renowned hunting hotspot sprawling over 1,750 hectares in Kwazulu-Natal. Surrounded by whispers of intrigue, the acquisition plan, originally intended to be auctioned in March, has since been withdrawn. Sources point to a connection with local conservation body, Ezemvelo who acted as the intermediary to bring Karpowership into contact with the owners.

The proposed acquisition of the game reserve is part of a larger strategic plan aimed at compensating for temporary environmental damage from the proposed 540MW power plant in Richards Bay – a site with significant implications on global bird habitats.

Despite initial uncertainties expressed by Karpowership's Chief Commercial Officer, Zeynep Harezi, the premise of the deal, intriguing as it may seem, revolves around securing an environmental permit by offering a game farm as a negotiation incentive.

The shifting environmental landscape around Richards Bay Estuary, the proposed site for Karpowership’s floating power plants, has been a subject of continuous debate amongst environmental specialists. The area is globally significant as it is among the world's most important sites for migratory birds.

Karpowership, as part of its proposed biodiversity offset arrangement, is founded on the belief that the temporary damage caused to the environment can be rectified by restoring another area.

In this peculiar situation, Ezemvelo has agreed to bend their usual rules with the argument that the critical bird habitat could be ‘recreated’ by rehabilitating the neighbouring uMhlathuze estuary. This is seen as a medium to long term solution to replace the degrading habitat at the Richards Bay site.

However, this strategic move has been described as ‘unchartered territory’, creating a scenario where the timing of environmental restoration has not been in sync with the developmental operations. The fine-tuned details of the rehabilitation work are still under negotiation, leading to operational delays and exacerbating the potential environmental damage.

In response, Karpowership has proposed an offer of the expansive Madaka game reserve to the government as a form of "ecological compensation". While the move might bolster animal conservation for elephants and rhinos, it may offer little solace to coastal wading birds as they wait for the uMhlathuze estuary's overhaul.

Now, the decision rests on the shoulders of environment minister Barbara Creecy, tasked with approving Karpowership’s game farm proposal, with Ezemvelo’s endorsement likely to influence the final decision.

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