Nazir Alli: From Faust to Frankenstein

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If I can be a bit self indulgent, this week is a very big week for me, because of a big contest that takes place. No, not the contest between the RWC clash between the Boks and the USA on Wednesday but the contest between Sanral CEO Nazir Alli and Sinegugu Zukulu that takes place in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday and Wednesday.


It is nearly ELEVEN YEARS since the Minister of Environment (at the time Martinus van Schalkwyk) first set aside the approval of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road scheme, because we (the 288 objectors) convinced him that it was riddled with fatal flaws, notably the fact that the EIA consultant had an undeclared conflict of interests. (See my article in NoseWeek December 2012 for details). Sanral resubmitted, but did not correct the other fatal flaws. The new Minister, Edna Molewa, dismissed our objections (mine was much the same as the one I submitted in 2003), so Sinegugu Zukulu took the lead to lodge an application with the High Court to have her decision set aside (similar to what the City of CT did wrt the N1/N2 Cape Winelands tolling decision).

Typically Nazir Alli launched a 'lawfare' strategy. He lodged a counter application (what lawyers call an 'interlocutary') claiming that Sinegugu Zukulu and his attorney Cormac Cullinan do not have the formal authority to oppose the N2 Wild Coast shortcut.

Judge for yourself.

This YouTube video features Sinegugu Zukulu explaining his objections.,   It was filmed four years ago.

After this weeks court case, the next big event I am looking forward to will be the announcement of the ANN7 Conservationist of the Year winner on 17th October. In an exquisite irony, it so happens that Sinegugu is one of the seven contestants. Sinegugu's speech in the video clearly shows why he is deserving of this award. Mr Alli obviously did not know when he lodged the interlocutary application that Sinegugu was on his way to national celebrity status. I wonder how he feels about having unwittingly helped PROPEL him there?

Coming on top of the Western Cape judgement against Sanral, I wonder if it crossed Mr Alli's mind that the prudent thing to do would be to withdraw the application, concede defeat, and engage with Sinegugu Zukulu, Bishop Geoff Davies and the rest of us who have been trying to help him see reality staring him in the face.

Surely he can now see that the Faustian pact he made with the N2 Wild Coast Consortium in 2002-2004 has become a Frankenstein monster for him.

What will he do?

About John GI Clarke

John Clarke hopes to write the wrongs of the world, informed by his experience as a social worker and theologian, to actualise fundamental human rights and satisfy fundamental human needs.  He has lived in the urbanised concentration of Johannesburg, but has worked mainly in the rural reaches of the Wild Coast for the past decade.  From having paid a fortune in toll fees he believes he has earned the right to be critical of Sanral and other extractive institutions, and has not held back while supporting Sustaining the Wild Coast (, the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute ( and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (, in various ways.