Zandvlei Trust

Feedback from the ZEMF Public Meeting on 20 March 2014.

CAPE Estuaries Programme: Implementation of the Estuary Management Plan (EMP) for the Zandvlei Estuary, Muizenberg, Cape Town.


On a beautiful evening before the Human Rights day long weekend some 50 people attended the meeting at the Imperial Yacht Club. 
It was chaired by Alderman Felicity Purchase and supported by the presence of Cllr Dave D’Alton.

Points raised and relevant responses;

  • Inefficiencies of the weed harvester and contributing factors. To be taken up by ZEMF.
  • Improvement in the pondweed management from the point of view of a paddler.
  • A particular MdG resident prefers that the pondweed is not cut in front of his property and this request is being adhered to.
  • Different driver of cutting machine uses different system to cut pondweed? 
    Answer: Different driver used for a short period of time.
  • Complaint that cutting when the water level is high does not “take anything away”; the mouth opens later than it should; there is damage to revetments which are collapsing. Gordon Laing commented that the revetments were designed to withstand water level fluctuations. However, it should be recognized that the revetments are now some forty years old.
  • What is the policy regarding harvesting when and where there are nesting birds? GZENR manager said that the policy was to not to disturb nesting birds.
  • How often is each channel (in the Marina) cut? A maximum of 7 times over a year.
  • Who checks the cutting? GZENR Manager Josh Gericke
  • What is done with the weed removed? It is dumped on Park Island and at the Coastal Park dump site. Cherry Giljam commented on what good compost it made.
  • What is the cost to the City of dumping? To be investigated by ZEMF.
  • The Marina is silting up.
  • Coral worm is contributing to shallowing. Cherry Giljam commented that coral worm had died off and was now re-growing.
  • Bob Craske said that a team was being arranged to remove coral worm. Dr Ken Findlay stressed the need to do it soon before water got too cold. He also asked if an EIA would be needed.
  • Who is to be contacted or what to be done with dead dogs in the canal (Sand R)? About three had been found in recent months. GZENR manager had assisted with this as soon as priority tasks allowed.
  • Gordon Laing challenged that it was easy to stand on the sidelines. Rather take the attitude “what can I do to solve the problem now” rather than complain.
  • Anton Ressel expressed concern about the increase in illegal / undesirable fishing practices. Has the by-law banning them been gazette? By-law not yet been gazetted, but is in process.
  • What is situation re: Peace Officer status. Only Joshua Gericke has Peace Officer status. Also, reluctant for his staff to become involved in potentially dangerous confrontations when not equipped and trained to do so.
  • What must be done if illegal fishing is seen? Need written statement to police and licence plate number. It was noted that 3 fines issued in last month as a result of collecting such data.
  • The need for a functioning number to call – not the emergency numbers. Felicity Purchase informed the meeting that for anything that is not an emergency SMS 31373. MdGA will pay for correct numbers to be displayed in the Marina and arrange for other notices to be changed at cost.
    (Note: For Service delivery queries, complaints and accounts call 0860103089. Ensure you get a reference number to track the response to your call.)
  • Measures “promised” by Ald Belinda Walker at the April 2012 meeting have not been delivered.
  • What is going to be happening in ZEMF in the coming year? Overall activity is to advise the City as the Estuary Management Authority, on implementation of the Estuary Management Plan. Priorities are finalising review of the Detailed Action Plan, looking at means to deal with sedimentation; monitoring and evaluation; building profile of Zandvlei, ZEMF to become part of the future Zandvlei Protected Area Advisory Committee.
  • Bob Craske offered his services to audit and undertake a gap analysis of the EMP free of charge. ZEMF to respond to the offer.
  • Cherry Giljam asked Martin Thompson that given that Sand River Catchment Forum existed for 15 years and the catchment was managed holistically, what need for ZEMF? He replied that a lot of resources are required to manage a catchment and the City has limited resources. (Note additional response below at **)
  • The Chair Felicity Purchase challenged all present to engage with the City’s budget and give input promptly.
  • Dr Pat Garratt expressed appreciation for a very competent group that makes up ZEMF and that it was well chaired.

**There have been some significant changes that have triggered the need for additional action and responses than were sufficient in the past. The one major trigger is that with the promulgation of the Integrated Catchment Management Act there is now a legal requirement to produce Estuary Management Plans (EMP). This responsibility devolves to the local authority in whose area the estuary occurs.
It was a considerable bonus for SA’s 4 marine provinces that the Global Environmental Facility provided funding for the preparation of a framework for EMPs and also funding to set up the first 6 EM Forums to implement those plans. The W Cape has been fortunate to have a conservation body who took the initiative to secure funding for the preparation of plans and forums for more estuaries. In addition CapeNature’s Pierre de Villiers has supported the all the 16 (currently)W Cape Forums with his energy and drive. Province has also supported EMFs in convening two sessions in the last few months setting up a wider network of EMF chairs and a connection to the Coastal Management Programme that they are undertaking.
With the increase in urbanisation around the vlei, demands of users and decrease in budget available there are increasing pressures on the system. This drives the need for some place in which the trade-offs can be debated by representatives of the various interest groups so that competing needs are balanced as fairly as possible and the vlei kept as close to functioning as possible.

On the attendance list there was a question to ask how people had heard about the meeting. The analysis of this provides useful information for future communication and contact.

No. Option provided Number responding
1. False Bay Echo 2
2. An email list 21
2b. Marina list 4
2c. ZVT list 1
3. website 0
4. Facebook 0
5. Other 2

People were also asked to give their email address if they would like to be put onto a news/information list to keep them informed about Zandvlei news / issues.
All except 17 gave email addresses.

                                                                                                                                               

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