No cash for alien re­moval

The Star Early Edition - - JOBURG METRO WATCH - ANNA COX BY ANNA COX

IN­VA­SIVE plant species along Joburg’s wa­ter bod­ies are caus­ing huge prob­lems for res­i­dents whose prop­er­ties are be­ing in­vaded by the plants and for City Parks.

Charlie Davis, in Bas­so­nia, is angry and frus­trated that City Parks is not re­mov­ing the Aus­tralian black wat­tle grow­ing wild out­side his prop­erty.

“I have been try­ing to get a growth of th­ese wat­tles re­moved from a what is a ‘green zone’ owned by Joburg coun­cil. It is caus­ing mas­sive soil ero­sion on a 15° slope and is de­stroy­ing all sur­round­ing nat­u­ral veg­e­ta­tion… My pleas have been go­ing on for over three years, with no re­sult. I as­sume this is due to the fact that the site is not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and few peo­ple can see it.

“My prop­erty over­looks this area, and the res­i­dents of this com­plex are also con­cerned that there are va­grants liv­ing within the growth, and it is also be­com­ing a fire haz­ard,” he said.

The plants had grown rapidly from an area of 10m 2 to about 500m2 in 10 years.

“They are also forc­ing the lo­cal dassies to move to find the sun­light,” he said.

Ward coun­cil­lor Paul Smit said alien plants, in­clud­ing wat- tles and blue gum trees, were a mas­sive prob­lem in all the south­ern sub­urbs of Joburg, and City Parks did not have the bud­get to tackle them. “Not re­mov­ing th­ese plants is con­trary to a num­ber of en­vi­ron­men­tal acts. City Parks re­moves them from time to time, but it is a seven-year project to do so. They are sup­posed to re­turn once a year to make sure the plants are dead, but they do not do so, be­cause they haven’t got the bud­get.”

Smit said the city should ask the prov­ince for money to carry out this pro­gramme in terms of provin­cial en­vi­ron­men­tal acts.

City Parks said alien plant re­moval was spe­cialised.

Spokesman Jenny Mood­ley said its En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion Depart­ment had a longterm plan for the re­moval of th­ese plants.

“We are look­ing at this area in terms of plan­ning and re­source al­lo­ca­tion,” she added.

PIC­TURE: BHEKIKHAYA MABASO

IN­VA­SION: A Bas­so­nia res­i­dent is angry and frus­trated that City Parks is not re­mov­ing the Aus­tralian black wat­tle grow­ing wild out­side his prop­erty.

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