Most Fires recorded in 17 Years
The Western Cape’s biodiverisity agency CapeNature has recorded a total of 153 fires in its latest financial year. This is the highest number of fires experienced in the province in 17 years.
Anton Bredell, the minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says the fires resulted in over 133 129 hectares being burnt, which placed significant strain on CapeNature’s financial resources.
“An additional allocation of R3.1 million in funding was made in the period to alleviate the pressure.”
CapeNature along with the department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) tabled their latest Annual Reports – both with Clean Audit opinions – in the Western Cape Legislature this morning.
Minister Bredell welcomed the entities’ performance.
The department achieved a number of highlights in the period under review. These include:
The Western Cape Government is the first provincial administration to pass a new provincial spatial planning and land use planning law which is aligned to the national Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA).
The Department is the first and only provincial Department that has presented the full Basic Environmental Management Inspector Training Course to municipal officials in the Province nominated by their respective municipalities. 25 Officials successfully completed the course and may be designated as Environmental Management Inspectors (Green Scorpions).
The Department contributed to job creation through the river rehabilitation work of the Berg River Improvement Plan (BRIP) as well as in partnership with its conservation implementation agency, CapeNature.
With regards to the BRIP: The work being done is progressing well despite funding constraints.Over 100 000 plants were successfully cultivated, allowing for increased rehabilitation along riverbanks that have been cleared of invasive alien vegetation.
The clearing of new areas inhabited by invasive alien plant species is underway, while previously cleared areas are being maintained.
The Department has developed a new 5 Year Strategic Plan for the period 2015 -2020. A focus will be on improving the resilience, sustainability, quality and inclusivity of the urban and rural settlements in the Western Cape.
Dr Razeena Omar, Chief Executive Officer for CapeNature says a highlight for CapeNature was the proclamation of the Knersvlakte Nature Reserve.
“The proclamation of the reserve, which is 85 518 hectares in extent, contributed a substantial portion to the organisation’s expansion of protected areas in the province.”
Other highlights from CapeNature for the year under review includes:
Income from tourism related activities surpassed budget expectations by 24.6%.
Two new tourism developments, Rocherpan and Cederberg Nature Reserves, were completed and CapeNature was able to deliver on six upgrade projects. It is anticipated that these upgrades and expansions will yield additional revenue in ensuing years.
The Minister congratulated the senior management teams and supporting staff and all employees for the clean audits.