Plans to commercially bottle Port Alfred seawater and sell it inland has been given the thumbs up by provincial government.
Former Ndlambe mayor Sipho Tandani said yesterday market research indicated there was a huge demand for bottled seawater among people living far from the ocean.
He said seawater was highly sought after for its medicinal properties and that inland people coming to the coast on holiday often loaded bottles to take home with them.
“I am a farm boy who grew up far from the sea and would always drink seawater when I came to the beach.
“I was told from a young age that drinking seawater was something our forebears did to cleanse the system,” said Tandani.
Tandani, who spent several terms as Ndlambe mayor, said after 25 years as a civil servant he was looking for new challenges.
He said they were the first company to commercially bottle seawater in South Africa.
According to a letter of approval from the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (Dedeat), no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was needed.
Dedeat manager of environmental management, Siyabonga Gqalangile, said in the letter the abstraction of seawater would not trigger any listed activities according to existing legislation, and that environmental authorisation was not needed.
Dedeat spokesman Luzuko Buku confirmed approval had been granted to extract water from the sea and to bottle it.
Tandani formed a company called PA Beverage (Pty) Ltd with local plumber Guy Snyman.
A removable 95m long pipe will be used to pump seawater from Monday to Friday into a 1000-litre tank on the back of a bakkie.
It will take 45 minutes to fill the tank, which will then be taken to the PA Beverage bottling plant in the nearby industrial area.
The abstraction will take place in a quiet car park near the resort town’s popular Kelly’s Blue Flag beach.
According to Tandani, regular tests will be conducted for e.coli to ensure the water is always of top quality.
He said R800000 had been spent on the bottling plant and that as many as 50 jobs would be created.
Bottling will start this week and deliveries will be made to spaza shop owners and agents in Gauteng townships soon thereafter.
No EIA was needed as the seawater was simply being extracted and bottled, and unlike distillation into fresh water, there was no brine discharge.
AmaRharhabe Kingdom Royal spokesman Prince Zolile Burns-Ncamashe said bottling seawater for people inland was a good idea.
He said people believed the water cleansed humans of ills and had a detoxing effect on the body. – firstname.lastname@example.org