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News - Briewe
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 08:12
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Petro Lemmer from Pienaarspoort writes:
I read Mark Ikking’s letter, “Paradise lost”, in your July edition with interest. He does not mention whether the trees that his neighbour chopped down were indigenous trees or invaders.

If they were indigenous trees he has my heartfelt sympathy and I share his anger. It is a great pity that only one tree species in our area is considered a protected tree (the Cheesewood, Pittosporum viridiflorum) under the National Forests Act.

But if they were invaders, the owner of the property was required (indeed all owners of all properties are required) to remove and destroy the trees in terms of the Alien and Invasive Species (AIS) regulations under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act 10 of 2004) (NEMBA).

I know that long stretches of the Pienaars River in the Boschkop/Donkerhoek area are invaded by wattle, gum trees, grey and white poplar, and syringa trees. These are but five of the 341 invader trees, shrubs, climbers, herbs and grasses that are listed under the Act in Gauteng. Of these, 52 need not be removed but further propagation of these species is prohibited.

As for the damming of the river, this is an infringement of the National Water Act, 1998 (Act no 36 of 1998) which states that the flow of the water may not be interrupted, nor the course of the river altered in any manner.

The Green Scorpions (that is the Compliance Department of the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) are the people to involve in this respect. Contact the Environmental Crimes Hotline at 0800-205-005. They will also advise you whether the trees that your neighbour chopped down were in fact invaders.

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