The Reality is that we are currently farming in the Paardeberg just south of Malmesbury and the reality is that obviously the agricultural land is coming under various forms of pressure be that urban development or simply mining or just the lack of good caretakers in some instances.
The Paardeberg has in recent years gone through massive change and being situated just South of Malmesbury with parts of it being governed by Drakenstein Municipality and another part of it by the City of Cape Town have made it a complex dominion to control or at large to have an integrated vision for.
In terms of substainable living we have to turn in this region to the core of agriculture and it being one of the best grape growing regions for high quality wine, the respective wineries and cellar doors and guest houses with add ons in terms of wedding venues, it certainly makes for a region that sustainably can generate income nationally in terms of tourists (national & international) visiting the farms be that for wine tasting , hikes , weddings or just a simple break away being very well situated between Riebeek kasteel, Malmesbury, Paarl and Cape Town. And on the other hand a major part of the produce is being exported as high end South African wine generating forex.
Tending vineyards and tourism is a major generator of job opportunities from fairly unschooled to high end expertise and it is sustainable as it involves a 360 day cycle.
But all of this is threatened by low income once of mining that is currently been allowed with not only the destruction of arable agricultural land, but also the destruction of the landscape being one of the most important points of sale in terms of tourism and defending the high end produce when the international traders visit the Paardeberg vineyards and cellars.
The issue on the table is that many of us as producers have heavily invested in this region as it has always been a viticultural region with the co-existance of wine cellars and tourism and landscape that goes in hand. But recently some mining activities have infiltrated the region that has for sure to date turned off a number of investors that have thought to come and set up more wineries and vineyards and have made it difficult for us already existing operations to explain to clients what is going on with our surrounding landscape.
If one was to set up a hotel in the middle of a number of mines and then come to the realisation that it is not working, surely the reverse should also be in that where we have set up this amazing story with vineyards and cellars and tourism, mines should not be granted. I am baffled and would love for this topic to take serious priority in the next number of years in terms of the planning forward.
Many Thanks, Eben Sadie
THE SADIE FAMILY WINES - PAARDEBERG, MALMESBURY