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South African Bee Journal


In the previous issue of the Journal we reported extensively on Beekeeper activities. Many of our readers have welcomed this, although some have expressed a concern about the lack of technical information. In this issue you will find six technical contributions, covering various subjects, which we believe will have a general appeal to you, the reader.
In a highly controversial article, Researchers from the University of Pretoria are challenging you, as beekeepers, to unite and invest in a long-term project for the eradication of the capensis problem. This may sound far-fetched but it is not at all. It will however require the commitment of all beekeepers. New Zealand beekeepers recently achieved the very same objectives by adopting and implementing a ten-year programme to eliminate American Foulbrood, and this serious disease has now been totally eradicated from their country. Who will be the first to initiate such a programme? Sure, it will be difficult and yes, some may lose sites or contracts, but only in cases where he/she is not willing or able to adapt to change. The same situation arises when a new highway is built: The cafe and petrol station on the corner will lose clients and eventually will have to close business. To avoid this they need to relocate to new premises where they will find a bigger clientele and become more profitable. But the choice is theirs - adapt or die! With the capensis problem however, it is different - currently the Bee Industry still has a free choice. But the day might come when we will lose that voluntary choice and someone else might make decisions on our behalf.

In this issue you will find a summary of the progress made in the Bee Industry's fight against the indiscriminate removal of gum trees. As good as it may appear on paper, the process unfortunately has almost again come to a standstill as Working for Water officials are seemingly themselves (again) not sure where the goalposts in this regard should be.
Since the first correspondence on the issue from the Bee Industry, always trying to address this matter in a constructive and professional manner, Working for Water have seemingly continuously managed to somehow slow down the progress. It furthermore seems as if they are not eager to honour their undertaking to provide the information about their clearing operations they had agreed to make available to the Bee Industry as stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement. Recently an independent assessment commissioned by Working for Water on the invasive status of eucalypts lead to the Eucalyptus Task Team (which includes a senior WfW official) unanimously recommending to NDA to remove 3 of the 7 listed species from the CARA regulations and that the other species be henceforth listed only with specific reference to the circumstances under which each is threatening the environment. Are all these perhaps indicative that it is now realised at last that the CARA Regulations pertaining to bluegums were implemented in too much of a hurry and without the due consultation the Bee Industry requested all along? Or did the Working for Water machine perhaps developed into such a logistical and political dilemma that playing for time remain the only option?

Notwithstanding the above perspective, the Bee Industry reiterates its support for the initial published goals of the Working for Water programme as can be derived from their name, but urges that this be done in a balanced and responsible way. The beekeepers countrywide now direly look forward to a speedy conclusion of the impact assessment of the removal of eucalyptus on agriculture in the Western Cape.

Dawid Smit


Contents page for December 2003
Vol 75, No. 4
Editorial            102 
Letters to the Editor


Beekeeping Education 104
Mead 106
Small hive beetle 108
Ratel Voorligtings program 112
Marketing quality honey 114
Bloekoms - Status van die ondersoek 121
Capensis - The Solution? 123
Beekeeping Development - a shared vision 129
Bee-Bodies 136

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