City’s budget set to fight invasive plants

MMC for Environment and Agriculture Management, Ziyanda Zwane. Picture: Supplied

MMC for Environment and Agriculture Management, Ziyanda Zwane. Picture: Supplied

Published May 16, 2024


The City of Tshwane is set to bolster a battle against the invasive species posing a threat to the environment and water by injecting at least R2 377 million into initiatives aimed at the removal of the alien plants.

This is one of the objectives envisaged by the Environment and Agriculture Management Department as part of its mandate for the 2024/25 financial year, according to MMC Ziyanda Zwane.

For the coming financial year, which will start on July 1, the department has been allocated approximately R2 377m to address waste issues and ensure that the environment is clean and healthy.

One of its priorities would be to preserve the environment by removing invasive plant species. Zwane said the department recognised the importance of safeguarding the natural environment and combating the proliferation of alien vegetation.

The environment in Tshwane has been constantly under threat from alien plants like the pompom in the Groenkloof Nature Reserve and wattle trees in the Klapperkop Nature Reserve.

In December, residents in Region 7, which includes Bronkhorstspruit, Cultural Park, Ekandustria, Ekangala, Rethabiseng, Riamar Park and Zithobeni, experienced water shortages due to a broken local water treatment plant affected negatively by the hyacinths at Bronkhorstspruit Dam.

At the time, ward 105 councillor Kgaugelo Phiri said the invasive plants from the dam were destroying the pumps at the abstraction point.

During the launch of the Gauteng Working for Water Environmental Programme last year, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy said a five-year programme worth R2.67bn was aimed at eradicating invasive alien plants in municipalities, including Tshwane.

"Biological invasions by alien plants are a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystem services, water resources and sustainable livelihoods. Invasive species exacerbate floods, droughts and wildfires and have a negative impact on the forestry and agriculture sectors,” she said.

Zwane said his department was similarly concerned about illegal dumping, which continued to cost the municipality money that should be going into improving service delivery.

“To address this pressing matter, approximately R30m has been designated for the implementation of relevant initiatives and enforcement measures against illegal dumping.”

To maintain cleanliness and hygiene standards in residential areas, he said, an amount of R649m has been allocated, specifically for household refuse removal services.

“This allocation underscores our dedication to ensuring the well-being and quality of life of our residents,” he said.

He said R660 000 has been allocated towards various agricultural initiatives to bolster agricultural practices, promote food security and enhance the livelihoods of farmers within the City’s jurisdiction.

“Nature conservation and resorts have been allocated approximately R262,7m, mainly for the maintenance and management of the different reserves and resorts and taking care of the animals,” Zwane said.


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