Zandvlei Trust

Notes for the presentation to Sub Council 19, Fish Hoek,
on 16 February 2015.

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

Pic 1 aerial view looking south: shows the varied land uses and indicates something of the users and interested parties. Zandvlei is an important recreational facility. It is connected inland through the catchment of the several rivers that drain into it. It is connected to the sea and contributes significantly to fishing in False Bay with the resulting economic benefits.

Pic 2 from mouth looking north: It is no longer a natural system, being changed by: sewerage pipe built in 1930s, with a rubble weir to protect it; canalising the mouth, road bridge. Therefore Zandvlei has to be managed to best meet the needs of a functioning ecosystem vs the desires of users & residents. The core work of ZEMF is the understanding the varied needs and wants which are often conflicting and collaborating to find workable and acceptable solutions.

ZEMF came into being in April 2012 after the preliminary work by consultants. It is part of a country wide initiative to set up Estuary Management Plans (EMP) as required by the Integrated Coastal Management Act and the National Estuary Management Protocol. To date 26 EMPs and Forums are in place. There are over 200 estuaries around the RSA coast.

What has been delivered:

The key outcome has been improved communication:

  • Between the various recreational users, the reserve manager and the sections of the City to schedule weed cutting and mouth openings. The panic phone calls “we’ve got an event next weekend and the weed is bad /water is too low” have not happened in the past year

  • Between different parts of the City especially related to sewerage incidents which have been of shorter duration, with swifter response resulting in far fewer complaints

  • Listening to concerns from the “eyes and ears on ground” and channeling information to the city

  • Testing out ways of addressing some of the vlei problems. A current one is the buildup of sand near the mouth. Two initiatives are in place or planned to address the sediment problem at the mouth

  • lowering rubble weir to see if winter outflows can remove sand;

  • preparation for dredging at the mouth scheduled for May 2015.

Pic 3 Lowering of the rubble weir.

Pic 4 Surveying the bottom of the vlei at the mouth: ongoing measurement will tell how effective the weir lowering has been.

Benefits to the City: 
The City receives an important subsidy through ZEMF. The expertise, time and financial contributions that are made by Civil Society members and invited participants, are significant.
Senior members of ERMD say that there is a noticeable drop in issues related to Zandvlei which they have to address and which take up their time and energy.

In response to some Marina da Gama Association (MDGA) issues;

  • No addresses, emails, phones: On the relevant section of the Zandvlei Trust there is a list of members and their telephone numbers. The website also has all the minutes and relevant documents. ZEMF is transparent in its work.

  • The appropriate communication channel with ZEMF is via the representatives of the interest groups / organisations.

  • ZEMF is an advisory body. It does not take decisions. It has no delegated power. It has not received any funding whatsoever.

  • Of 29 detailed actions due for attention in 2014, 21 are either complete or on-going.

  • Of not adhering to the detailed letter of the ZEMF Constitution – quite correct. Because ZEMF has found that the Constitution does not serve the needs of the Forum as well as it should. The ZEMF Constitution is in the process of being superseded by the Protected Area Advisory Committees (PAACs) and thus effort has not been directed to amending the Constitution.

ZEMF and various supportive Marina da Gama residents concerned about the actions of the MDGA, have initiated a number of approaches to try to re-build constructive communication with MDGA.

Of the future – The City is implementing PAACs for 18 Nature Reserves and is advertising for applications from people wishing to serve on these advisory bodies. As the estuary is the major part of Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve, ZEMF will become a major part of ZPAAC . This will give an opportunity to build on 3 years of experience and relationship building. Incidentally ZEMF has informed the 2 parties withdrawing from ZEMF (MDGA and Muizenberg and Lakeside Ratepayers Association) of the applications for membership of PAAC.

Thank you for your time. As I have tried to respect the time allocation there may be points that have not been adequately covered. However I believe that there is some time for questions.

Sandra Fowkes  Chairman ZEMF.


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