Zandvlei Trust

The Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts working for the environment - April 2012.

James Forsyth is a River Warden for the Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts (FOCVGB) and part of his operation is to clear invasive vegetation in the Constantia Valley. After discussion, negociation and with a request for help by Mr de Vos at Pollsmoor Prison, a northeast section of invasive plants on the Pollsmoor property was cleared. This was funded by using some of the Grant in Aid money for Ward 71, which James had applied for and received for this financial year.
WESSA administers the money aspect for this Ward allocation, as the FOCVGB are in the process of registering as an NPO.

Mr de Vos asked if more could be done, so James approached Louise Stafford of the City of Cape Town's Early Detection Response Rapid department (EDRR). A quick plan was put into action and a contract team hired from Akhanani, owned by Cynthia Lombo. Cynthia is from the Working for Water Programme and has been a contractorr for Ukuvuka and Table Mountain National Park. Her team of skilled, previously unemployed local residents was moved into work the Westlake River starting at the drift crossing and working down to the irrigation dam.
James hires the chipper on a daily basis when needed, creating local business turnover and employment, as the chipper comes with an operator. Chipping the cut trees and shrubs reduces the bulk of the cut trees and shrubs to a fraction of the space it would take up. It makes wonderful mulch and is a source for the compost making in the argricultural section of Pollsmoor where they make their own organic compost.

The contract team moving the cut trees and shrubs to the chipper.

Port Jackson, Rooikrans, Long leaf Acasia going into the chipper and flying out the shoot.

A Manatoka tree going into the chipper / grinder.

The team leader David Mgwali directing the action.

The working end of the chipper. It is capable of chewing up tree trunks up to 20cm in diameter.

Moses Mgwali from EDRR speaking to Mr de Vos and David Mgwali.

The pile of chippings is growing in the background. A spare trailer was not availble.
The work cannot come to a stop, it just means manual labour has to be used to load
the trailer when it arrives.

Chainsaws going to reduce the trees to managable sizes.

The compost is used to feed the soil in the vegetable gardens. Pollsmoor is almost self sufficient for all the vegetable requirements for the whole prison. There is often an over supply of certain vegetables which are transported to other nearby prisons to feed the inmates. Pollsmoor is the largest remaining, diversified, working farmland left in the Constantia Valley.

Is this not a wonderful story of co-operation on many levels between national government departments, local government departments, volunteer civil society organisations and local business working to rid sections of the invasive plant species and helping to promote biodiversity of all species in and along and banks of the catchment rivers of Zandvlei.
I am sure the Friends of Kirstenhof Wetlands and the Zandvlei Trust members are very grateful this source of invasives upstream will be substantially reduced in the near future, together with the long term impact of their areas. We are all in "this game together".

The catchment rivers are the corridors for animal, bird, insect and botanical (seed and pollen) movement and survival, within the suburban residential areas we live, work and play in.

This is what the Sand River Catchment Forum advocates, embodies and strives to achieve amongst its members. This is truely working for the environment.

The representative groups working and benefitting together;

Friends of Constantia Valley Greenbelts
Ward 71
City's EDRR
Pollsmoor Prison
Friends of Kirstenhof
Zandvlei Trust
Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve
Sand River Catchment Forum  (SRCF)
Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF)
Akhanani - invasive plant clearing contractor
Chipper hiring company.


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