n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The off-road vehicle beach ban - five years of conservation? A criminological introspection

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During December 2001, legislation was promulgated which effectively banned all recreational off-road vehicles (ORVs) from South African beaches. Increased control over vehicular transgressions, safety on beaches and the promotion of coastal zone conservation were cited as being the principal reasons for this prohibition. A functioning local authority (the Regional Services Council) system of ORV control in the Western Cape was marginalised and supplanted with what would seem to be a hurriedly drafted and implemented regulatory mechanism requiring a high degree of vigilance and enforcement input, and promising increased conservation benefits. Implementation agency vacillation and fragmentation during the last five years has, however, led to the creation of a volatile situation which has facilitated lawlessness and has jeopardised, to a large extent, the ecological integrity of the coastal zone. Conservation crime transgressions in the largely rural and underpoliced coastal zone environment, albeit often opportunistic and perpetrated by drastically reduced numbers of vehicles, would appear to have precipitated a more detrimental effect on coastal conservation than the preceding controlled system of ORV regulation. This has raised questions about the prohibition initiative's intrinsic bona fides. This paper, although by no means an exhaustive analysis, critically evaluates the ORV control premise foundation and the efficacy of its implementation over the last five years in the Western Cape from a criminological perspective in an attempt to probe and expose any underlying limitations or strengths in what would appear to be its virtually seamless patina.


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