Draft minutes for the Meeting on 30 January 2012.
CAPE Estuaries Programme: Implementation of the Estuary Management Plan (EMP) for the Zandvlei Estuary, Muizenberg, Cape Town.
Report on the 4th Meeting of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF): 30th January 2013 at the Zandvlei Sports Club/Yacht Club.
Summary of follow-up actions.
1. Welcome and introductions
Apologies were received from; Councillor D’Alton, Alan Boyd and Wilna Kloppers.
It is noted that prior to the meeting Anton Ressel tendered his resignation from the Forum.
2. Presentation by Dr. Brent Newman, CSIR
One of the needs identified in the WQ TWG was to gain a better understanding of the levels of contamination of Zandvlei – in both sediments and biota. Candice Haskins had previously reported that there was a possibility of collaborating on a project with Dr Brent Newman of the CSIR on this matter and since Dr. Newman was in Cape Town to initiate this project, he was invited to give a presentation to the Forum.
Dr. Newman provided some background information regarding the project, which is a City wide study being undertaken by the Coastal Systems Research Group of the CSIR’s Durban office. It builds on previous studies which have been undertaken in Richards Bay, Durban, East London and Saldanha. A pilot study has already been completed in the Black River/Milnerton Lagoon where relatively low levels of contaminants were found. The primary focus of the research group is environmental chemistry linked to human and ecosystem health risks. The initial study will look at sediments while analyses of fish will most likely take place in a few years. In response to a question as to why fish samples were not included from the start, Dr. Newman advised that there were a number of reasons, including the reliability of sampling – with fish of the correct species, size etc not always being easily available.
The contaminants included in the study include DDT, dioxins, organochlorines, organophosphates, PCBs, flame retardants and metals. The majority of these are a health risk because of their tendency to bioaccumulate, and many are carcinogenic. The analysis of these contaminants is both complex and expensive.
The sampling locations agreed on for Zandvlei include 4 in the estuary itself and another 5 in the incoming rivers. It is anticipated that the sampling will commence in March, and the results will be available in about 1 year’s time.
In response to a query regarding what could be done in the event that high levels of contamination were found, Dr. Newman suggested that, in terms of the sediment itself, in anoxic conditions it was probably best to leave it. Efforts should instead be directed at identifying the source and controlling that.
3. Presentation on Compliance and Law Enforcement by Arne Purves – CoCT.
Problems with Law Enforcement have been an ongoing issue for the Forum. Arne Purves was therefore invited to give an update on developments around the establishment of a Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit within the City.
Some of the key issues along the 320 kms of coastline which falls within the City and which they intend to address include:
The establishment of the Unit is part of “an integrated coastal and marine law enforcement and compliance strategy to streamline a coordinated approach to coastal law enforcement in the City”. This is based on a coordinated approach including all responsible City departments and external agencies with a coastal law enforcement mandate. – noting that Marine Law Enforcement is not a Municipal function. To this end, the City has been involved in the establishment of:
Discussions related to the Task Team were initiated in November, 2011 and the Task Team was formed in mid-2012. In addition to the City, it comprises DAFF, DEA, SAMSA, SANParks, SAPS, SARS (Customs) and CapeNature.
The Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit comprising 16 members was launched in December, 2012. Resources and equipment have been procured, an operational base secured, and training interventions are on-going. The development of a Protocol Agreement with DAFF is in process which will empower the Unit to enforce, for example, the MLRA regulations. A very successful pilot Joint Operation was carried out at the end of 2012 with further ones planned to tackle identified hotspots.
In addition, the Unit will:
In response to a question regarding duplication of this function, it was noted although it is not a Municipal function, DAFF and many of the other agencies do not have sufficient capacity on their own for effective enforcement. The strategy is therefore to pool resources to bring them to a level where they can be effective.
It was also noted that the system is still in the process of establishment and there are still issues – for example, the after hours service.
There was also some discussion about the City’s complaints contact numbers and it was agreed that these should go through the Call Centre – where they are logged – rather than to line function officials.
4. Legal Status of the Forum
There have been ongoing concerns regarding the seeming lack of legal status of ZEMF. These include the following needs:
At present, ZEMF has no standing, no physical address, no internet address, no web site and no telephone number.
Pierre de Villiers advised:
An example was also given where a Zeekoevlei Environmental Forum (ZEF) body without formal legal status had taken Council to court in relation to the pollution at Zeekoevlei.
Another option that was put forward was that the Forum’s fundraising be channelled through the Zandvlei Trust, which is already constituted as a legal entity and is providing website facilities to the Forum. A request could then be submitted by the Trust to the City for funds to cover the administrative costs of the Forum including a contribution to a website page.
Pierre de Villiers then suggested that, in the interim, Lynn Jackson’s contract could be re-visited with a view to extending the period for which her time could be made available to provide secretariat support for the Forum.
5. Sewage Spills
During the discussion on legal status, concerns were raised with respect to the City’s response to the recent sewage spills. These included:
It was agreed that the Chair would submit a letter to Pierre de Villiers regarding the poor response to the recent sewage spill and request that it be taken up at the next meeting of the Provincial Coastal Committee which is in about 3 weeks. In support of this, Bob Craske was requested to write a brief report on the recent incident.
Another point raised was that, although the City has installed standby generators and telemetry systems to reduce the number of sewage spills and/or improve response, there has been no attempt to provide retention facilities around the key pump stations. It was noted that this had been discussed with Water & Sanitation who feel it is not practicable. Members of the Forum felt, however, that it would be feasible, particularly in the canalised sections of the incoming rivers, and in fact, had been done on some occasions. It was therefore proposed that the BMB put together concrete proposals for discussion with Water and Sanitation and possible inclusion into the Contingency Plan. Gavin Lawson offered to assist with this.
Concerns were then raised about the perceived lack of progress around issues raised at the Forum, with Pondweed Management being given as a specific example. It was felt that not all the recommendations from the TWG had been implemented, proper records of what was being harvested were not being kept, and the Pondweed Management Protocol should perhaps be revisited. However, there was not consensus on this and in contrast, others felt that significant progress had been reported at the previous ZEMF meeting – in particular, there had been a meeting with a representative of Fleet Management. Moreover, it was felt that this meeting (of 30 Jan 2013) had been particularly productive in clarifying the process to be followed when it was felt that the City was not fulfilling its functions. It was however, proposed that:
There was also a request that someone make a presentation to members of the Yacht Club and Peninsula Canoe Club on Pondweed Management.
7. Matters Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting and Meeting Dates for 2013.
After some discussion, it was decided that at least during this initial phase, the Forum should meet on a monthly basis. It was also agreed that, given the importance of getting government officials to attend the meetings, every second meeting should be held during normal working hours rather than in the evenings. It might also be helpful; to pick a specific focus for each meeting and then ensure that the relevant manager is present.
A list of proposed dates/times for the meetings for 2013 is attached as Annex 4.
The Public Meeting previously scheduled for the 23rd February was postponed for the meanwhile.
Given the time, and the agreement to meet in another month (27th February), it was agreed that the remaining items on the agenda be held over to the next meeting. These include:
7.1 Matters arising from the Report of ZEMF 3 (Draft Constitution/ Version Control, Nutrient Study, Mouth Management Workshop, Citizen Science, WG on Communications & Secretariat)
7.2 Update on progress with respect to TWG Recommendations (new by-law, pondweed management, coral worm removal, endorsement of contingency plan)
7.3 Discussion on determination of economic value of Zandvlei.
The meeting was concluded at approximately 20:30.
List of Attendees at the 4th Meeting of the ZEMF on 30th January 2013.
1. Welcome, introductions and check agenda
The City of Cape Town has numerous channels of communication that residents can use to contact the City in order to report service delivery faults. These include:
While there is one Call Centre Number, residents may be redirected to the Corporate Call Centre, the Electricity Technical Operations Centre or the Water Technical Operations Centre depending on the nature of their request. During peak times residents also have the option of sending an SMS or an email to the Technical Operations Centre concerned, with their service request. This is especially helpful in the case of electricity outages and burst water pipes as the request is logged by an agent on behalf of the resident and routed directly to the correct department saving residents valuable time and money.
Automated messages are also placed on the system informing residents of electricity outages around the city which are being addressed by council staff.
When customers contact the Call Centre, they are given the option of receiving a reference number via SMS or e-mail. This option makes it more convenient for them to keep the reference number so that they can follow up on any outstanding service requests. “In order to keep Cape Town a Well-Run City, it is important that service requests and logged faults are acknowledged and attended to timeously. This system ensures that where it is necessary for residents to follow up on their logged requests, they have their reference numbers easily at hand,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services, Alderman Demetri Qually.
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ZEMF proposed meeting schedule for 2013.
It was resolved at the meeting of 30 January 2013 that ZEMF should meet with greater frequency than in 2012. It was suggested that the last Wed of each month should be reserved for a ZMEF meeting. To accommodate the needs of both the civil society volunteers as well as the civil servants meeting starting times should alternate between 14h00 and 18h00.