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Thursday Mar 03, 2016

Cape Town fence to protect sensitive Noordhoek wetland

Western Cape's Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Department has directed the City of Cape Town to erect a fence at the wetland in Masiphumelele to prevent people from building shacks there.

The 1 000m fence will cost R1 million.

Installation will commence as soon as a contractor has been appointed and the necessary preparations are completed, said Mayco member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen.

The provincial government wanted the fence installed to stop further encroachment of the Masiphumelele informal settlement into the wetlands, she said, and added that the community will be consulted before the fence is erected.

According to her, the fence was to protect the ecologically sensitive wetlands.

"Secondly, the recommendation has been made as a measure to protect the residents from flooding during the wet season, which makes the wetland uninhabitable," said Van Minnen.

"It is important to note that the wetland is an ecologically sensitive area and it is under pressure from encroachment into it.

"The settlement is expanding into the wetland, which is uninhabitable and floodprone.

"Household and human waste is also being dumped in the wetland area, which is severely threatening the ecological health of the wetland, as well as diminishing the environmental health of the residents."

But community leaders said the money to erect the fence should be used to build houses.

"This is news to me, and people know nothing about such an erection of a fence. This is wasteful expenditure, and we should have been consulted about it.

"Nothing for us without us," said community leader Athenkosi Mlindi.

Mlindi maintained that the residents were not going to allow the fence.

"That money must be used for something better like housing."

James-Brent Styan, spokesperson for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell, said: "Regarding this matter, our response is to refer you to the City of Cape Town, whom we believe will be best placed to answer your questions."

Cape Times


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