Zandvlei Trust

ZANDVLEI CATCHMENT FORUM

Minutes of meeting held on Wednesday, 16th February 2015 at 09:30 at SanParks, Cape Research Centre, Tokai.

Present.

Name Initial Organization Represented Position
Alvina Brand AB CoCT Green Jobs Unit -
Abdulla Parker AP TCT – Stormwater & Sustainability Acting Chairman  
Boitshekwana  Kgantsi BK WWF-TMF -
Chandre Rhoda CR CoCT Green Jobs Unit -
Erica Hobbs EH Friends of Kirstenhof -
Eugene Moll EM  VWC -
Gavin Lawson GL Zandvlei Trust -
Gideon Topley GT CoCT City Health -
Hilton Scholtz HS TCT – Informal Settlements -
Jean Fillis  JF Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands -
Joshua Gericke JG CoCT Biodiversity Zandvlei -
James Rawlings JR Friends of Constantia Valley Green Belt -
Justin Smit JS TCT – Stormwater & Sustainability -
Liz Brunette LB CoCT Ward 62 -
Masixole Langa ML - -
Mark Shaw MS Friends of Die Oog -
Melissa Tang MT CoCT Water Pollution Control -
Na-eem Davids ND CoCT TCT – intern -
Nicola Rule NR CoCT ERM – intern -
Penny East PE CoCT Ward 71 -
Richard Burns RB CoCT CoCT Green Jobs Unit -
Robyn Morton RM CoCT Environmental Resource Management -
Sarah Chippendale SC CoCT Environmental Resource Management -
Sandra Fowkes SF Zandvlei PAAC -
Stephen Granger SG CoCT Environmental Resource Management -
Sharon McCallum SM Zandvlei Trust Secretary

-

1. WELCOME AND PURPOSE OF THE MEETING
AP welcomed all present to the meeting and checked that everyone had copies of the agenda and previous minutes, and asked people to share if there were not sufficient agendas and previous minutes.

2. ATTENDANCE AND APOLOGIES
The following apologies were recorded: 
Pauline Pearce, Lee Leith, Graeme Hill, Jessica Kavonic, Emma Oliver, Brendon Fortuin, Brian February, Linda Ndela, Kevin Winter, Malcolm Cupido, Philippa Hartley (WESSA), John Fowkes, Dalton Gibbs, Talcott Persent
.

3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING (29th July 2015) – CORRECTIONS / ACTIONS
3.1. SF queried the action item column of the last minutes in that it was not clear to her who was to do what. It was agreed that the action item in future would mention specifically who is to do what action. 
3.2. HS asked that it be recorded under item 9.2 (Informal Settlements) that Westlake Village (WV) be reflected as a formal township. He reiterated that WV is not an informal settlement.
3.3. JR mentioned that he had mentioned squatters under item 9.2 but this had been omitted from the minutes and he feels that it is a subject that no-one wants to discuss.
ND was thanked for his efforts producing the minutes for the last meeting, as this was his first effort.

4. ELECTION OF NEW CHAIRPERSON
AP told the meeting that Bob Craske had to stand down as Chairperson of the Forum, due to health reasons, and that it was now necessary to elect a new Chair. He (AP) was unable to take on the role of Chair due to the many Catchment Fora being established around the City which he has to attend. AP re-iterated that the ability of a catchment forum to appoint a Chair from the respective forum is the key to the sustainability of the forum. After some discussion SF agreed to be the Chair, provided she had the assistance of EM and MS – as co-chairs. Everybody approved and SF was welcomed as the new Chair of the ZCF

5. PRESENTATION BY TCT DEPARTMENT ON TYPICAL CHALLENGES OF INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS
This item was brought forward in the agenda due to HS having to leave the meeting early.
ND gave a presentation (which I hope will be circulated) and said that certain informal settlements had been identified inside and outside the catchment area. Inside the catchment, these are Westlake Village (which as stated by HS is not an informal settlement but has many shacks in the backyards), Vrygrond, Village Heights and Coniston Park. One of the main challenges is the dumping of solid waste on inappropriate sites which are prone to flooding in winter and fires in summer. People living in these settlements are susceptible to disease often because of overcrowding. For example, Westlake Village was built for approx. 2000 and there are now approx. 12000 people living there, the majority being those who live in shacks in the backyards of the formal housing. The backyarders do not receive services or only inadequate services, the most relevant services being water & sanitation and refuse collection, which leads to dumping all over, including the stormwater network. One possible intervention is that Solid Waste Dept would agree to clear the sites once or twice a week.
There are also socio-economic challenges. With the high unemployment rates and drug and other addictions, there is little care for the environment.
AP asked the meeting to consider this question as a challenge: How can the waste be contained? Can we turn this question into a chat group discussion?

PE explained the difference between formal and informal Settlements and highlighted the challenges, because Westlake Village is formal housing and because each erf within Westlake Village is privately owned, the City is not allowed to provide free services to backyarders. It is classified as an indigent area and the City services are provided in terms of the indigent support policy. One free bin is allocated per erf, but there may be up to seven dwellings in any one yard. The only person that can organise an extra bin is the owner who will have to pay R120 p.m. The same applies to water and sewerage. The City is mandated to take services to a private property, but not through or into. So there are on many occasions seven or eight families in the backyards who have no formal access to water, electricity, water borne sewerage and formal solid waste services. Small time entrepreneurs in the area see open spaces or unclaimed land as a place to dump all sorts of stuff. The situation has been allowed to develop and should have been prevented but where else would they live!?

AP said that containing the waste is easer said than done. However, up to 60% of the Stormwater maintenance budget is going to waste removal in the stormwater network; thereby decreasing the budget left to execute the core function of the Stormwater Branch of clearing the stormwater network of silt, sediment and natural vegetation removal.

PE said we need new ideas – out of the box ideas – going forward. The provision of skips/tips did help a little, but are very difficult for Solid Waste Dept. as even body parts had been found. The City then decided on no more skips in the area. A defined waste collection area needs staffing and infrastructure and protection. Are there any ideas that may work and which will not offend the residents in the area?
EM added that the situation has an historical element – we need to forget about environmental legislation that talks about backyard dwellers and look at the current situation on the ground which needs a solution now. We need innovative African solutions for an African problem.

CR spoke about a project in Nyanga where she had been involved and where the sub-council and the community were working together to resolve issues. The community elders were asked what they want.
SG spoke about the waste at Village Heights which is an endemic problem. There have been a number of interventions and the situation is improving in collaboration with Solid Waste. There is also a recycling initiative and things seem to be moving in the right direction.

BK advised TMF is identifying what communities need with the offer of a small grant. She has found that if a community takes the initiative about how to deal with issues like turning open spaces into something that they want, there is more buy in. Some very diverse ideas have come from different communities.

RB - Councillor Felicity Purchase and other city officials have met with taxi owners and senior members of the community to discuss the solid waste issue in Masi. The main issue is that there are not enough bins. A private individual that owns a timber company has offered to build containing bays for the solid waste. Green jobs Unit has offered to supply the labour. This could potentially be a pilot project and if successful, it could be rolled out to the informal settlements.

After this discussion, the presentation continued around Gaitjie at Mocke Road – by AP – which is situated on land owned by the Railways, and the large amount of waste from a small informal settlement, most of which is highly toxic – waste in storm water channels; toilets (which are regularly repaired) repeatedly vandalised. AP said that Water & Sanitation in collaboration with Human Settlements have introduced the idea of wash-houses which should assist to contain grey water.

Discussion followed – LB asked whether Cllr Kevin Southgate had been invited as he is involved. AP advised he will check. 
Action: AP

LB then asked whether TCT will be able to move forward and AP responded that they were engaging with PRASA to resolve the issues.
HS advised that engagement with Solid Waste also needs to happen and with the community itself. It is difficult for City to do anything on PRASA land, but the City does have to supply water and certain other services with the consent of the landowner. There is ongoing discussion pertaining to Mocke Road and no quick fix.

6. MATTERS ARISING
AP went through the Action items from the previous minutes and confirmed what had been actioned. The minutes were approved – proposed by EM and seconded by GL.

6.1. POLLSMOOR PRISON UPDATE – Melissa Tang
The following was received from MT:
Pollsmoor Prison progress report:

1. Water Pollution Control received drainage diagrams of the site from the Department of Public Works (we had been asking for these for 2 years). We also received a letter from the consultants who have just replaced and repaired the sewer at the Prison indicating that their CCTV inspection of the sewer and stormwater lines show that there are no cross-connections between these lines on site and hence this cannot be the reason that we are experiencing high levels of E.coli in the Westlake River.
2. Our next step is to inspect the kitchens at the prison to ensure that all drainage here meets the City’s requirements and to advise the staff on general housekeeping practices to limit the amount of solids they discharge into the sewer and hopefully reduce the number of blockages (which then cause overflows of sewage into the stormwater system which eventually ends up in the River). This inspection has been delayed by prison officials, many of whom are only now returning from their annual leave.
3. Going forward the prison and the City will need to investigate measures they/we can put in place to mitigate pollution of the stormwater system as it is prudent to believe that even with good practices occurring in the kitchens, blockages will still occur with the resulting wastewater and sewage ending up in the Westlake River.

After MT finished, GT added the three kitchens were now open and running. He added that Pollsmoor had requested to be part of this forum – a senior manager would attend to assist with explanations. It was agreed that they could. HS suggested that it should be someone from their Environmental and Health and Safety Departments.
JF asked if MT was confident about the report from Pollsmoor in regard to the testing for E.coli and asked whether theE.coli was not also coming from Westlake Village. MT said she was – that she did the dye test herself and there was no dilution – they are sampling what is coming down. There are continual overflows of sewerage but the infrastructure is in place on site to sort these out within 24 hours.
JF continued and said that with many people using one toilet, there will problems coming from Westlake Village. It was suggested that lids were removed off sewer holes where backyarders could drop their buckets of waste. This was immediately vetoed as it is not allowed.
AP said that Westlake Village is a significant pollution problem that needs to be addressed. If anyone knows about an incident, please to report by email or through the City’s website.
JF advised that she knew a gardener who lives in Westlake Village who reported that sewerage gets into the stormwater drains somehow.
Action: AP asked that this be an item to be addressed – (It was recommended by AP that GH&MT address this).

6.2. INVASIVE SPECIES UNIT UPDATE - Alvina Brand
The following was received from AB:
Update from Green Jobs Unit:

  • The clearing we had to complete last year in November
  • EPWP funding received
  • Planning for the next three months
  • Work completed in 2016

At the last meeting Chandre gave feedback on our APO which contained a list of 20 sites of work that we completed but there were still 4 outstanding sites that we still needed to be clear in November. We did complete follow up work at Spaanschemat, Wynberg Park, Die Oog, Doordrift and Princessvlei.
Funding was received from EPWP and R500 000 had been allocated for clearing in the Sand River Catchment. This will be used on follow-up work for all the sites listed in the APO of AB.
Since the beginning of this year the highest priority has been to do follow up work on all the rivers due to the limited time available in the rivers because of the leopard toad season. It’s planned to do at least 2 follow-ups before the end June 2016.

So far this year follow-ups have been done on:

  • Kreupelbosch
  • Prinskasteel
  • Pagasvlei

Currently busy with Grootboschkloof and Keysers River.
For the next three months it is intended to complete Grootboschkloof, Keysers River and move on to Kirstenhof, Westlake River and Westlake wetlands, Wynberg Pond and Maynardville.

RB advised that his team had sites within the ZRF area, and that work had been completed in Spaansemacht where 6500 terrestrial plants had been planted and 14 000 into Kirstenhof. They are still busy with Grooboskloof and are preparing for re-vegetation which will continue into the latter half of the year.

RB mentioned a concern with the reference to “wasteful” expenditure in the last minutes. JF explained that when planting occurs at the incorrect time, the plants die and only about 30% survive. RB advised that they have to use their funds within a specified financial period and therefore sometimes have to plant at the “incorrect” time, as in this instance the funding arrived late.
JR advised that there had been great uptake in his area and congratulated RB.
Where the current electricity pipe is there has been removal of and invasive grass and typha and new planting of wetlands or terrestrial plants depending on the moisture in the soil.
LB asked that she be informed when RB is working in that area. He said he would.
EM questioned the definition of a wetland – an area with the function to absorb nutrients – and said he would write to Kate Sneddon (who RB said had identified the wetland area) to discuss.
Action: EM.

6.3. SOURCE TO SEA UPDATE – Stephen Granger / Sarah Chippendale
The following was received from SG:

  • At the end of 2015, an external consultant (Jenny Clover) was appointed by ICLEI to develop a high-level business plan for the Source to Sea project. The aim of this business plan is to motivate for resourcing of the “Source to Sea” initiative and to highlight prioritised actions. This business plan focuses specifically upon interventions along the Diep and Prinskasteel/Keysers rivers. Jenny engaged with numerous stakeholders from the public sector and civil society, and has elucidated various short and long-term goals for the project, based on these discussions. This business plan is in draft form and is currently being revised. The final plan will be available at the end of March 2016.
  • The Source to Sea website, which is being developed by Jess Kavonic at ICLEI, is near completion. The website provides information about the project, and contains numerous resources including management plans, reports and historical data. The website will continuously be updated to communicate any activities or events that are occurring within the corridor. A launch event for the website is currently being planned, and the website’s address will be forwarded to all members of the ZCF once it has gone “live”.
  • The Munich Climate Partnership represents a partnership between the cities of Munich and Cape Town. One of the themes of this partnership is “Making river corridors sustainable” and the Source to Sea project falls within this thematic area. As part of the partnership agreement, City officials have been invited to Munich to learn about their work relating to the improvement of river systems, thus encouraging knowledge and skills transfer between the two cities. These officials will be Teuns Kok and Sivuyile Jokazi, both from TCT.

His update included the news that Cape and Municipal are part of 50 Capital Municipal Project – funded by Germany, with five programmes of action for Cape Town, one being river (Diep River) corridor restoration. Another is connected to encouraging cycling in Cape Town for business commuting rather than just recreation.
LB expressed excitement about the S2S project along the Diep River and pointed out that cycling is not permitted on the Diep River greenbelt below the M3, Alphen Greenbelt and Klaassenbosch Greenbelt. There needs to liaison with City Parks who manage the greenbelts and POS.
LB also advised that the Cosntantia Greenbelts Cycle Route has been approved along portions of greenbelts between Southern Cross Drive and Tokai Park (TMNP) excluding the Alphen Greenbelt and Klaassenbosch Greenbelt. Press release and map will be circulated.

7. PRESENTATION BY TCT DEPARTMENT ON WATER QUALITY TRENDS – Candice Haskins
CH presentation has been circulated since the meeting.
CH started by reminding the meeting that it has been 2 years since her last reporting. Some comments that arose from her presentation included:
JG responded, in regard to the Sand River / Langevlei canal confluence, that the response times to sewerage spills had improved a lot.
CH noted that the quality at Spaansemacht was worsening. LB reported that the sewer manholes were overflowing. One of the contributing factor was newspaper being used as toilet paper, thereby blocking the system. LB also said that it was not just the Spaansemacht but where three streams come together.
MT offered to do a project on the wine farms. JG said they had picked up blockages and inundation from rain water. CH responded that the blockages have to first be cleared.

There has been a gradual deterioration in the Westlake River since 2006.
EM said that the quality for 2011, 2012 and 2013 seem to be better than others and perhaps this was from good rains. It is dry now and the levels are worse because the flow is less. CH mentioned that dilution is expected when rains are good, but rain also causes a lot of wash-off. CH also added that the rolling blackouts had shown deterioration in results where there was no auxiliary power. The confluence of the Westlake River and the Keysers is also showing worse results – the peaks seem to coincide with winter months.

8. GENERAL DISCUSSION

9. DATE OF NEXT MEETING - The next meeting was set for the 21st of JUNE 2016.

10. CLOSING OF MEETING - AP closed the meeting and thanked everyone for their attendance.


                                                                                                                                                

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