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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:05 am 
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Interesting video about the Matroosberg mountain drive by Carte Blanche talking about the dangers of the commercial drive up the mountain.

"Over 600 people a day visit the area in peak season, but day trippers are oblivious (not made aware) to the dangers."

Matroosberg - Winter Death Trap

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:14 am 
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I don't know about day trippers not being made aware. I was there last winter and they were so adamant about making sure to tell us to not even lick the icicles in case your tongue got stuck to it :P Will give the vid a watch soon though...The Ski Club of RSA has a hut there too and a ski lift as well. So perhaps in a combined effort things can be made safer and more accessible?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:25 am 
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Thermophage wrote:
I don't know about day trippers not being made aware. I was there last winter and they were so adamant about making sure to tell us to not even lick the icicles in case your tongue got stuck to it :P


That's probably because a court case is about to be heard.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:37 am 
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Justin wrote:
Thermophage wrote:
I don't know about day trippers not being made aware. I was there last winter and they were so adamant about making sure to tell us to not even lick the icicles in case your tongue got stuck to it :P


That's probably because a court case is about to be heard.


Good point :?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:30 am 
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The Carte Blanche piece is a little sensationalist, especially the title but they do have a point. In the past the farmer/operator has sold the trip as a safe, fun-filled day playing in the snow and has ferried truckloads of tourists and allowed anyone with a 4x4 up to a viewpoint overlooking a huge (100-400m) drop without, in my opinion (I have read and signed his indemnity/waiver/warning many times), properly informing the tourists of the risks. Three deaths later he did nothing. It is only now with the lawsuit pending that he has moved to place warning signs indicating areas beyond which it is dangerous to walk etc.

I strongly believe that you should be responsible for your own safety in the mountains and are responsible for the consequences of your actions however in this case I do believe that the operator has a duty of care towards his paying customers and he failed in that duty.

The consequences for landowners should the court find in favour of the family are very scary however. It would imply that anyone can sue a landowner on whose property they sustain an injury which could lead to closure of areas and restrictions on access.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:02 pm 
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I wrote a Master's thesis on (nearly) this topic.
Matroosberg was not one of my 15 case sites.

It can be read at http://hpc.uct.ac.za/NegotiatedAccess-AntHall.pdf

It is NOT an authoritative legal reference.
Reference pages 38 & 39 regarding liability and
Reference pages 77 & 78 for a suggestion about how this might apply to issues of wilderness access, and what type of landowner might have what type of duty of care

Now, my personal opinion:
- That prosecution of the landowners is against public interest - particularly the possible implications for recreation and enjoyment of natural areas, nationwide.
- But that the status quo at Matroosberg is untenable. That EITHER the road should be removed, OR adequate reception facilities should be installed up top. 'Adequate' would probably look something like the board-walks and railings around the upper Cable Car station. I probably prefer the former, but the latter is necessary if the landowner wants to continue facilitating access and enjoyment of this natural area for a different profile of user (those who ride up the road)

Both the construction of a road and a set of board-walks (depending on the extent of the board-walks) mandate at least a basic EIA.
Yes even on private property, and the law is there for a reason (not just saving plants and the pristine-ness of natural areas - it looks at people and their use as well)
I don't have my facts about if and how this was done for the road.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:22 am 
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Interesting Ant. I'd like to read it all at some point.

Minor note thought; Scottish access laws differ from England; we've always had the right to roam even prior to CRoW.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:13 am 
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Thanks Chris.
Indeed. Right to roam was/is common law. CRoW 'codifies' it - effectively 'bumping it up the hierarchy' of legislation.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:37 am 
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http://www.legalbrief.co.za reports:

Nature reserve not liable for man’s death – ruling

The widow of an Italian man who fell to his death off a snowy precipice at a popular Cape winter scenic spot has lost her bid to hold a private nature reserve liable for damages.

Here is the report from 2010 Tourist dies after falling off Matroosberg Mountain

And if you were wondering why it was so cold yesterday, the snow on Matroosberg might have had something to do with it!


Attachments:
File comment: Matroosberg snow April 2014
matroosberg_snow_april_2014.jpg
matroosberg_snow_april_2014.jpg [ 44.02 KiB | Viewed 571 times ]

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