Gauteng and NW Province

Residents up in arms over Tshwane destruction

Florapark and Broederstroom residents are up in arms over the devastating destruction of trees and other flora by Tshwane municipality contract workers.

Workers from a company named Bvelela Engineering who were supposed to clear areas under powerlines cut down trees unnecessarily and out of the parameter prescribed. They also entered the properties without informing landowners or getting the necessary permission.

“I got home on Wednesday to this totally unexpected devastation. They cut down Ysterhout, Kiepersol and various other trees that would never reach the overhead lines”, said Grace Boshoff close to tears last week.

“We take our farmworkers to workshops where they are taught to identify indigenous and alien plants in order to preserve our natural fauna and flora and now Tshwane municipality comes in and destroys an area we are trying to preserve.”

Grace contacted the Tshwane official who oversees the project, as well as the contractor and they visited the site.
“They were both shocked and told me it was the work of an ignorant person. The Tshwane representative said it was irresponsible and unacceptable,” Grace said. In the meantime the Boshoff family is trying to do damage control and is seriously concerned about erosion problems.

“We have contacted nature conservation in order to address the erosion problem the destruction of the trees pose and we hope the department will advise us in order to prevent further damage,” she said.

Kormorant has contacted the Tshwane municipality and was told that officials would be sent to the scene to investigate.

According to the occupational health and safety act and regulations the clearance for trees around the 11kV overhead lines is three meters.

“The municipality may remove any object or rectify any activity that may endanger the integrity or the distribution system.”

It also states that the owner must limit the height of trees or vegetation or the length of projecting branches in the proximity of overhead lines. Should the owner fail to comply the municipality has the right after prior written notification and within the prescribed period, to cut or trim the trees or other vegetation to comply with the regulations.

“None of the trees were even close to the line and if the asked we would have done the necessary trimming ourselves,” Grace said.

Grace is one of a number of landowners in the area who is taking the municipality to task.

Kormorant 15 November to 21 November 2012

Go Grace! The destruction and ignorance towards our land and water is scary and disgusting. The Hennopsriver is so polluted already that farmers in that area are now dependent on borehole water for all their irrigation. That is like withdrawing money from a bank without ever making a deposit …… you do the calculations…

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