PHYSICAL PLAN - Xai-Xai IDP
Various concessions have been issued without due regard to the characteristics and sensitivity of the physical environment. The shape of stands is not ideal. Some lots are 50mx500m, which make them out of use (see Annex 4.). Further problems are:
Some concessions overlap;
Some people are building within the 100m building restriction area (shore protection belt);
Some lots do not have access;
Some lots only have a small area that can be developed and that does not fit the development rights, which have been granted; and
Some lots are on high ground that should be protected against any development.
This thus renders the plan non-implementable.
The greatest asset and most valuable resource of this area is its beautiful natural environment. The physical environment was evaluated to determine the suitability thereof for development on the one hand and sensitivity for development on the other. This was done by identifying certain criteria for development sensitivity and then overlaying the various factors. An analysis was done of land cover, slope gradient, height, orientation of valleys and suitable bathing areas.
Land cover was evaluated from recent aerial photographs taken of the area. Four categories of land cover was identified (see Map 3):
Dense bush and natural vegetation; and
Scattered bush and trees.
From the analysis it is clear that there are serious environmental problems in the area as subsistence agriculture and insensitive development are threatening the natural environment. Subsistence agriculture is practised in a traditional manner of slash and burn, on the less fertile dune soils, without investing resources in the long-term carrying capacity of the land. The low yield is aggravated by lack of rain, lack of fertilisers, unsuitable seeds and agricultural instruments. This results in shifting agriculture which has destroyed massive tracts of natural vegetation. The role of local communities with regards to the degradation of the environment is clear in the felling of mangrove trees and dune vegetation for firewood and domestic needs. This is done because of the poverty and lack of resources experienced by these people. Large- scale erosion of dunes has set in.
Insensitive development is also leading to the deterioration of the natural landscape, through the building of roads in unsuitable places, cleaning of sites prior to development, development on sensitive sites and landscaping with decorative plants. Footpaths, which cut across the dunes, are contributing further to erosion.
Erosion next to the beach is a growing problem as more development is taking place. The cultivated land and grazing of animals are encroaching on the areas that are still pristine. The vast areas covered only by scattered bush pay testimony to this. Although there is still some dense vegetation next to the coast along the steep slopes, this is also being destroyed.
For the purpose of identifying land that is suitable for development, areas with dense bush and natural vegetation were taken as sensitive for development and should be protected. If development takes place here it must be of a low intensity and must not disturb the natural environment. Cultivated areas and areas with scattered bush and trees were taken as less sensitive for development. On these areas more intensive development can be allowed. Eroded areas with steep slopes were identified as sensitive for development and should be