Zandvlei Trust

Draft minutes for the Meeting on 03 October 2012.

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

Report on the 2nd Meeting of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF): 
3rd October 2012
at the Zandvlei Sports Club/Yacht Club.


Summary of follow-up actions.

Action. Resposible Person. Date.
Draft proposals for document version control. Gavin Lawson November 2012.
Master copy of Constitution to be placed on ZvT website. Gavin Lawson November 2012.
Incorporate proposed amendments into the Constitution. Lynn Jackson Completed – copy attached.
Scope of Work for nutrient study. Joshua Gericke January 2013.
Summary of NS study, TWG mtng to discuss TOR for mouth management study. Lynn Jackson January 2013.
Initiation of “citizen science” programme using copper chains to monitor oxygen. Sandra Fowkes January 2013.
Follow-up with CSIR re metals study Candice Haskins 2013.
Removal of coral worm from around Park Island Bridge Joshua Gericke December 2012.
Apptmnt of consultant to work on Vlei by-law Dalton Gibbs / Councillor D’Alton December 2012.
Establishment of WG on Communications and Secretariat Sandra Fowkes Sandra Fowkes October 2012.


1. Welcome and introduction
Participants were welcomed to the meeting by Sandra Fowkes, the Chair of the Forum. This was followed by a round of introductions. A list of participants can be found at Annex 1.

Apologies: were received from Pierre de Villiers, Martin Thompson, Robin Solomons, Wilna Kloppers, Warren Dreyer, Andrew Taylor, Ken Findlay, and John Ridley.

2. Matters Arising from the report of the previous meeting

2.1 Draft Constitution
During the discussion on the draft Constitution the following questions/points were raised:

  • Given that some amendments had been made to the original version, a procedure should be put in place to control the various versions – it was agreed that Gavin Lawson would put some proposals together;

  • Where would the Master copy be kept – possibly the Zandvlei Trust website?

  • There was a need to change the amendment procedure which currently states that they should be approved unanimously at any formal ZEMF meeting. It was agreed that a better procedure would be to circulate the amendments to all organisations represented on the Forum with a deadline for response indicating that a lack of response by the set date would be considered to indicate approval. Proposed amendments would need to be approved by 60%;

  • The Forum needs to have an organisational address.

With respect to the amendments which had been proposed at the previous meeting, it was agreed that the text of paragraph 2.1 should be amended to read: “To liaise with, and advise the City of Cape Town, as the Estuary Management Authority (EMA) - and other responsible authorities on any matter concerning the management of the estuarine component of the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve, including the setting of objectives, how to achieve those objectives and the priorities for environmental governance”.

It was also agreed that following this meeting, a final draft – incorporating all comments/suggestions to date – would be circulated to all member organisations as per the procedure outlined for amendments. A copy of the final draft is attached at Annex 2.

2.2 Monitoring and Evaluation
At the end of the 2nd ZEMF meeting, the Chair had identified a number of “Action Items” which should be monitored as a mechanism for assessing the effectiveness of ZEMF. These included:

  • The proposal to develop a Scope of Work for the broadened “nutrient loading” study for submission into the City’s September budget proposals;

  • The involvement of Water and Sanitation in the Forum;

  • The proposal to include the Westlake River diversion and rehabilitation of reedbeds into the scope of pre-authorised activities under River Maintenance;

  • The removal of coral worm from the bridges;

  • The completion of the Contingency Plan/Emergency Protocol;

  • Inclusion of Zandvlei into the CSIR study on contaminants in sediments and fish;

  • Workshop on Mouth Management.

Progress on these items was reported to be as follows:

Scope of Work: this was to have been dealt with under agenda item 3.1, but was overlooked *
Water and Sanitation: a representative and alternate have been officially nominated, but the representative tendered apologies for this meeting.
Westlake River diversion: this is bigger than the activities originally envisaged under the scope of pre-authorised activities under River Maintenance and can therefore not be included.
Coral worm: see 3.2 below.
Contingency Plan: see 3.4 below.
CSIR study: see 3.1 below.
Workshop on Mouth Management: see 2.3 below.

* The responsibility for this has been transferred from Candice Haskins to Joshua Gericke and, as a result, has not met the September deadline. However, JG has had preliminary discussions with the Water Research Commission who have expressed some interest in funding the study.

2.3 Mouth Management Workshop
This, together with all TWG recommendations, was discussed at a meeting of the relevant City Departments on the 20th September. The Biodiversity Management Branch was of the opinion that there is insufficient relevant expertise available within the City and TWG and that such a workshop would therefore not advance the discussions on this issue. They instead recommended a specialist study on the issues. After some discussion, it was agreed that Lynn Jackson would produce a summary of the scope and findings of the Ninham Shand study (2000) which could be used to inform another TWG meetings / workshops aimed at defining a Terms of Reference for such a study.

3. Update on Progress w.r.t. TWG Recommendations

3.1 Hydrodynamics and Water Quality

Sediments, nutrients and oxygen levels
Candice Haskins provided an analysis of some of the factors which could have contributed to the toxic algal bloom in April/May of 2012. The presentation highlighted the differences between the situation in the main body of the vlei – which is relatively shallow, has limited stratification i.e. water is generally well-mixed and oxygenated – and the canals of the Marina, which are deeper, and relatively protected from the wind and which therefore tend to be stagnant, with limited mixing and poor flushing. This pre-disposes the canals to nutrient loading, increased productivity and decomposition, and oxygen depletion – particularly during warm, windless conditions as occurred just prior to the bloom.

This warm period was followed by the first winter rainfalls caused a subsequent drop in temperature of the surface waters which could have triggered a turnover of water by forcing the anoxic, nutrient-rich bottom water to the surface – bringing with it resting spores of the Golden Alga which then bloomed.

The presentation also raised the possibility that high levels of pondweed harvesting could have contributed to the situation by increasing the amount of decomposing material present in the system.

The second part of the presentation introduced a possible option for the involvement of community volunteers in oxygen monitoring using a copper chain suspended in the water column. This turns black when coated by copper sulphide which is produced in anoxic conditions.

There was an extended discussion on these issues, with the following points being made:

  • If harvesting is carried out correctly, there should not be any loose cut material left behind to decompose and ad to the nutrient load. This has been an ongoing problem linked to the fact that the harvesters are currently incorrectly engineered, and the wrong blades being used, with the result that pondweed is being ripped out rather than being cut. This also disturbs the sediments;

  • Carp are often the first fish to come back after a fish kill, and their feeding habits also stir up the sediments

  • The harvesters – and small boats – could be used to aerate the water when necessary.

The Chair offered to take the lead in further investigating the possibility of using copper chains to monitor oxygen through a “citizen science” programme. She would contact Tim Hoffman in this regard.

CSIR Study
Candice Haskins also reported that she had been in contact with Brent Newman of CSIR. He is planning to extend his study to Cape Town in 2013, and is considering including Zandvlei. He will liaise further with CH to finalise his sampling sites and the range of contaminants for analysis in both sediments and fish. Samples for the latter could be taken during the quarterly fish surveys being undertaken by BMB and DAFF.

Coral worm
Joshua Gericke reported that he had undertaken a preliminary assessment and as far as he could determine, the coral worm was only a problem in the vicinity of Park Island bridge. Some work has already been done and it has been relatively easy to remove the growth with spades, the main difficulty being the depth. Further work will be undertaken when the tide is suitable.

3.2 TWG on Pondweed
Meeting with Fleet Management
Bob Craske reported back on a meeting with Ray Whitenburg from Fleet Management which had been organised by Joshua Gericke. The discussions covered the engineering and maintenance problems related to the harvester and had been very constructive, and it was agreed amongst others that:

  • The blades would be changed to those normally used for rice;

  • Depth markings will be added, initially using a paint line, to make it easier for the operator to cut to the correct depth;

  • There will be improved speed controls;

  • BC will draft a maintenance programme;

  • The current operator is very competent and will be trained to do daily checks and to make minor repairs himself so as to limit down-time;

  • A trailer would be built to transport harvesters more easily from one vlei to the other (they are currently moved by crane);

  • There should be several drop-off points for harvested material rather than one so as to reduce the distance that the harvester itself has to travel to drop such material, and thereby increase time available for cutting;

  • The harvester can be used to remove water hyacinth if the front blades are removed;

  • There was a very limited knowledge base on how to operate the machines within the City with no documentation having been kept.

Mr. Whitenburg had also provided a Bobcat to remove debris from the canals, and a follow-up meeting would be held shortly.

Pondweed harvesting
It was noted that JG had held discussions with City Parks and it had been agreed that the second machine would be made available to work at Zandvlei. However, since the incident in April/May, pondweed levels had declined significantly – with algal blooms increasing – and there had been no need for harvesting over the past few months. In the last few weeks, though, there have been signs that the pondweed is starting to receover.

It was suggested that an MoU between the two Departments regarding the shared use of the machine should be put in place.

Councillor D’Alton also reported that the Council was currently in discussions around the purchase of an additional machine, as well as other priorities identified by the Biodiversity Management Branch to improve their performance with regard to pondweed management - namely an additional, trained driver and a grab truck to remove the harvested material from the drop-off points.

3.3 Vlei by-law
Dalton Gibbs informed the meeting that the City’s legal division – which has been working on the amendment/consolidation of the Vlei by-law – had returned the work to the BMB. They had received hundreds of comments during the public participation process and do not have the capacity to incorporate them. However, it is a huge task, and it is unclear that BMB will have the capacity to undertake this in the short-term. The preferable option would be for the City to appoint someone to do the required work and it was agreed that this would be followed up with the Councillor.

3.4 Contingency Plan
Lynn Jackson then reported back on the development of the Contingency Plan which is now close to completion. A very successful meeting had been held with relevant City Departments on the 20th September, and there was strong commitment to the plan which covers a variety of incidents (including sewage spills, toxic algal blooms and flooding). In each case, the level of response is determined by a set of criteria for each Category. Response levels range from 0 = False Alarm to 3 = Major Incident, and the plan outlines the steps required for each scenario. The text is supplemented by a series of flow diagrams clearly outlining the steps to be taken by each of the Departments.

There has also been significant progress on the establishment of the Marine and Environmental Compliance Unit – which will be operational from November - and a Multi-Agency Task Team on Compliance. Arne Purves, who is responsible for establishing the Unit will report to the next Forum meeting.

4.Economic Value of Zandvlei

It was agreed that this item be held over to the next meeting.

5. Re-establishment of ZAC

There was a brief discussion on the re-establishment of ZAC which had been proposed at the previous meeting. Questions were raised as to what would trigger the convening of ZAC? Who would convene it? And how its activities would be reported back to Forum? However, there was a counter proposal which suggested that ZAC was already functioning on an informal basis and that there was not need to formalise it.

6. Other

  • Relationship between the Forum and the Advisory Board under the PA Act.

  • DG noted that the Proclamation of Zandvlei as a Nature Reserve under the Protected Areas Act should take place within the 6 months, following which an Advisory Board would need to be set up in terms of that Act. Given the overlap with the Forum, members should consider amalgamating these into a single body.

  • WG on Communications and the Secretariat

It was agreed that a WG should be established to develop recommendations on a variety of issues which had been raised during the course of the meeting, in particular communications and the Secretariat (given that LJ will only be available to the Forum for the next few months – and including the next Forum meeting as well as another Public Meeting). Members would include the Chair, Gavin Lawson, John Fowkes and Bob Craske.

7. Dates for Next Meetings and Closure

It was agreed that the next meeting of the Forum should be on the 23rd January, 2013. The 20th February was proposed as the date for the Public Meeting.

The meeting was concluded at approximately 20:20.

Annex 1.

List of attendees at the 3rd Meeting of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF):
0 3rd October, 2012,
Zandvlei Sports Club.

Organisation / sector. Name. Rep/Alt/Ind.
Forum Chair Sandra Fowkes Chair
Councillor David D’Alton Rep
CoCT (Biodiversity)  Dalton Gibbs Alt
CoCT (Biodiversity) Joshua Gericke  Rep
CoCT(CSRM) Candice Haskins Rep
Zandvlei Trust John Fowkes Rep
Zandvlei Trust David Muller Alt
Cape Bird Club Gavin Lawson Rep
Sea Cadets/CPUT David Walker Rep
Marina da Gama Bob Craske Alt
Cape Piscatorial Society Garnet Prince Rep
C & EC Lynn Jackson Consultant


Annex 2.

Final Draft Amendments to the Constitution of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum.

1. Mission

To promote the fulfillment of the Vision as set out in the Zandvlei Estuary Management Plan, namely: “Zandvlei is a beautiful and important component of Cape Town’s natural assets. It is valued by the local community and visitors alike for recreation, education and other uses. It is also home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna and is used in a way that balances conservation with the needs of the users for the benefit of present and future generations.”

2. Purpose

The purpose of the Zandvlei Estuary Management Forum (ZEMF) is:

2.1. To liase with, and advise the City of Cape Town, as the Estuary Management Authority (EMA) and other responsible authorities on any matter concerning the management of the estuarine component of the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve, including the setting of objectives, how to achieve those objectives and the priorities for environmental governance.

2.2. To act a communication channel between the EMA and relevant stakeholders, including all Government departments, national, provincial and local, and in particular, to be a channel through which speedy and decisive action can be motivated in the best interests of the management of the Zandvlei Estuary;

2.3. To provide advice to the EMA with a view to ensuring that the Zandvlei Estuary is being managed in accordance with all applicable national and local legislation and in alignment with all prevailing policies;

2.4. To provide a link between stakeholders, user groups and the responsible authorities with the intention of ensuring that recreational activities, both consumptive and non-consumptive, are carried out and permitted within a framework that guarantees sustainability and minimizes negative effects on the system.

3. Forum Status

3.1. The status of the Forum shall be that of an advisory body, whose resolutions shall be taken into account by all relevant public bodies or authorities with responsibilities pertaining to the management of the estuary. 

3.2. The Forum may also establish Technical Working Groups to address specific issues of concern to the stakeholders.

4. The Estuary Boundaries

4.1. For purposes of the Forum, the boundaries of the estuary are those adopted in the Estuary Management Plan, in which the estuary is defined as the area from the estuary mouth, to the upstream end of the wetlands. Both the northern and lateral boundaries comprise the 100-year floodline.

5. Membership of the Forum

5.1. The ZEMF shall comprise at least 15 but not more than 25 members.

5.2. Members shall represent relevant government departments, NGO’s and local organizations and/or stakeholder sectors and/or be such persons having appropriate experience, expertise and skills in order to enable the ZEMF to carry out its functions. 

5.3. The initial ZEMF shall comprise of members nominated through the nomination process under the Zandvlei Estuary Management Plan. These members shall serve for an initial period of two years. Thereafter, with the exception of those representing Government Departments, members shall resign, although they may be re-nominated by their respective organizations or, in the case of individuals, by the general membership. 

5.4. Any member who represents any Government Department, NGO or any other organization on the ZEMF shall provide the ZEMF with proof of their appointment on behalf of the relevant organization.

5.5. With the agreement of its members, ZEMF shall be entitled to co-opt ad hoc representation of individuals or representatives of bodies who it considers necessary to perform its duties in any matter from time to time.

6. Meetings and Procedures

6.1. Members of the ZEMF shall elect office bearers on an annual basis, which as a minimum shall comprise a chairperson, vice-chairperson and secretary/treasurer.

6.2. The 1st meeting of ZEMF shall determine the frequency of meetings, which shall be at least twice a year. The ZEMF shall further agree the formalities to be followed at each meeting, including the required notice for meetings and the option to hold interim meetings via email if necessary, and then the procedures to be followed.

6.3. The quorum shall consist of half of the members of the ZEMF plus one, but which must include either the Chairman or the Vice Chairman. 

6.4. In the event that a quorum is not achieved at a meeting where the required notice has been given, then such meeting shall be postponed for a period of seven days. On re-convention at the same time and the same place, those members present shall constitute a forum and in the event that neither the Chairman nor the Vice Chairman is present, shall elect a Chairman from their number. 

6.5. Should any member of the forum fail to attend two consecutive meetings such member shall be assumed to have resigned, and, in the event that it is a nominee of a Governmental Department, the department shall be advised accordingly.

6.6. Any member who is reasonably deemed incapable of fulfilling his duties for physical, mental, or practical reasons, or convicted of a felony, shall be required to resign.

6.7. In all instances the ZEMF shall endeavor to reach decisions by consensus. 

6.8. However the chairman may exercise the prerogative to determine that a resolution, on which consensus has not been achieved, should be put to the vote where a majority of 60% of positive votes shall cause it to be carried.

7. Liability

7.1. No forum member shall be liable to any other person whatsoever for any act of omission by himself, by the Forum, or by its servants or agents.

8. Finance

8.1. The ZEMF shall draft a budget for its financial requirements and endeavor to find a source / sources or party / parties that will undertake the funding thereof.

9. Domicilium


10. Amendments to the Constitution

10.1. From time to time members shall be entitled to amend the constitution.
10.2. Proposed amendments shall be submitted to a formal meeting of the ZEMF Forum for discussion, after which they shall be circulated to all members for approval within a specified time-frame (minimum 2 weeks). Members not responding within the specified time-frame will be deemed to have approved the amendments.
10.3. Amendments shall be regarded as having been adopted if they are approved by 60% of the members.


List of Nominees for the Zandvlei estuary Management Forum.

Name. Organisation. Rep / Alt / Ind Offically nominated
Sandra Fowkes Chairman Ind yes
David D’Alton Councillor Ward 64 Rep N/A
Joshua Gericke CoCT (Biodiversity) Rep N/A
Dalton Gibbs CoCT (Biodiversity) Alt N/A
Martin Thompson CoCT (SRCM) Rep yes
Candice Haskins CoCT (SRCM) Rep yes
Muzzamiel Gamieldien CoCT (Env Health) Rep yes
Phumla Ketani-Poort CoCT (Env Health) Alt yes
Leon Swartz CoCT (City Parks) Rep no
Andrew taylor CoCT (Water & San) Rep yes
Yusuf Ebrahim CoCT (Water & San) Alt yes
Pierre de Villiers CapeNature Rep N/A
Nontsasa Tonjeni DEA & DP (Coastal) Rep yes
Clement Arendse DEA & DP (Coastal) Alt yes
Cathy Bill DEA & DP (Pollution) Rep no
- DEA (Oceans & Coasts) - Estuaries Rep -
Wilna Kloppers DWA Rep no
Warren Dreyer DWA Alt no
Stephen Lamberth DAFF - Fisheries Alt no
- DAFF - Landcare Rep -
John Fowkes Zandvlei Trust Rep yes
Robin Solomons Muizenberg & Lakeside RPA Rep no
John Ridley Marina da Gama HOA Rep email only
Bob Craske Marina da Gama HOA Alt email only
Ken Findlay Peninsula Canoe Club Rep yes
Fynn Corry Peninsula Canoe Club Alt yes
Damian Gibbs Imperial Yacht Club Rep yes
Gavin Lawson Cape Bird Club Rep yes
Felicity Ellmore Cape Bird Club Alt yes
Anton Ressel * Fishing fraternity Ind yes
Garnet Prince Cape Piscatorial Society Ind yes
David Walker Sea Scouts Rep no
- Girl Guides Rep -
- WESSA Rep -

* Anton was nominated by Erik Hesse as an individual representing the “fishing fraternity”.



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