"It is clear from our Working or Water programme that we have
to act decisively in controlling invasive species, if we are to avoid massive damage
|1. Mission Statement
3. Programme Leader's Report
|5. Biological Control
7. Tackling Poverty Relief
8. The Year in Review
10. Best Management Practices Symposium
|12. Santam/Cape Argus Ukuvuka Campaign
13. Provisional Financial Statement
For further information:
These two statements are remarkable not only for their generous praise. Together they also capture the dual nature of the Working for Water programme.
The Working for Water programme has had another remarkable year. It has maintained its record of spending virtually its entire budget within the financial year. It has reached further across line-function boundaries, in building stronger partnerships. It has slowed the relentless march of invading alien plants across our country. And it has made a genuine difference to the well-being of the lives of the most marginalised.
I would like to highlight four accomplishments:
For all the successes, there is still much to be done. I want to thank all involved, and wish them every strength in the future.
Dr Guy Preston
The 1999/2000 financial year was an overall success. The quality of management in the programme continues to improve. The move to closed contracts has seen productivity being higher than it has ever been. However, three events have been of particular importance in the programme being in a position to take a massive leap forward:
Tragically, five people in the programme died this year. Ms Lungiswa Elefu drowned whilst crossing a flooding river. Ms Lettie Smith died after falling from a cliff. Mr Willem Basson died in a motor-vehicle accident. Mr Andre Zimmery died after being hit by a falling tree. The programme also lost one of its chief stalwarts, with the untimely death of Dr Francois van der Heyden, a scientific advisor with the CSIR. His contribution to the programme was immense. The programme offers its most sincere condolences to the next-of-kin. We say goodbye to Mr Tseko Nell and Mr Sidwell Dingela, who are moving into new ventures, and express our gratitude for all that they brought to the programme. Mr Greg Todd was dismissed.
Notwithstanding daunting challenges facing the programmes developmental aspirations, the prospects for the Working for Water programme are excellent. With the loyalty and passion that are so evident in the programme, and with the exceptional support from Minister Ronnie Kasrils and his Board, the programme can only improve. Our thanks to all who have made this year a success.
The Working for Water programme is placing special emphasis on integrated control and is investing substantially in research on biological control. The current research initiative builds on a history of biological control research that dates back to 1913, and is executed by the Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), and scientists at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
Historically, 103 bio-control agents have been released in South Africa against 46 weed species. Of these, 22 are now under complete or substantial bio-control. The programme has been expanded to include species, such as Australian wattles and pines from Europe and North America, historically excluded from bio-control research because of their commercial value. The total cost of the bio-control research initiative over the past 3 years was R19 million, of which the Working for Water programme invested R9 million.
With cutbacks in funding to the ARC, the Working for Water programme has increased its budget to over R7 million annually.
The species for which agents are being identified are as follows: Australian acacias; red water fern (Azolla), Mauritius thorn, triffid weed (Chromolaena), water hyacinth, Australian hakeas, lantana, cats claw, certain pine species, bugweed and parrots feather.
A key priority now is to establish greater co-ordination between researchers and those implementing bio-control initiatives in the Working for Water programme. The capacity to manage and implement bio-control initiatives in the field needs to be developed within the programme. Effective bio-control will be a key component in the sustainable management of invading alien plants.
Education is one of the keys to the long-term success of the Working for Water programme. The levels of awareness amongst landowners, nursery wholesalers and retailers, and the general public around the threats and impacts posed by invading alien plants needs to be enhanced. Responsible land management will only stem from an understanding of the severity of the impacts of invading alien plants.
One prominent educational initiative was a National Hack Day was held on March 24th. The objective of Hack Day was to mobilise communities, schools, business, labour and Government to join forces in the fight against invading alien plants, and to increase awareness around the crisis. Political leaders, celebrities and the general public were encouraged to "hack" (or pull out) weeds on this day. A Hack-Attack Pack for schools was developed, which has proved immensely popular and successful in the classroom.
It has been decided that, in keeping with our partnership with Australia and the United States, the programme will rather now follow the Australian-led concept of Weedbuster Week from October 8 - 15 each year, in an effort to heighten levels of awareness around the threats of invasive alien plants.
Specific educational drives are
planned: The programme is in the process of
formulating a nursery accreditation initiative, whereby those nurseries not selling or
propagating invading alien plants are recognised and given a "green stamp". The regulations coming out through the
Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (Act 43 of 1983) will be a significant
educational focus for the 2000/1 financial year. However, the major educational thrust this year will be the
development of an integrated environmental education initiative in schools, the
Green Schools Programme, with strong backing from the Department of Education.
This is building upon various initiatives such as the successful 20/20 Vision
project on water and energy conservation, the EduPlant greening of schools, and
initiatives to manage waste. It is hoped that a combined Green Schools programme will
ensure that all learners are informed about the threats of invasive species, and learn to
identify (and control) those that are problematic in their areas. Here, Regional
Programme Leader in Mpumalanga, Mr Tony Poulter, receives the award.
The programme is in the process of formulating a nursery accreditation initiative, whereby those nurseries not selling or propagating invading alien plants are recognised and given a "green stamp".
The regulations coming out through the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (Act 43 of 1983) will be a significant educational focus for the 2000/1 financial year.
However, the major educational thrust this year will be the development of an integrated environmental education initiative in schools, the Green Schools Programme, with strong backing from the Department of Education. This is building upon various initiatives such as the successful 20/20 Vision project on water and energy conservation, the EduPlant greening of schools, and initiatives to manage waste. It is hoped that a combined Green Schools programme will ensure that all learners are informed about the threats of invasive species, and learn to identify (and control) those that are problematic in their areas.
Here, Regional Programme Leader in Mpumalanga, Mr Tony Poulter, receives the award.
Legislation has not been used appropriately in the control of invading alien plants in South Africa. The Working for Water programme has compounded this by effectively subsidizing those who have mismanaged their land.
Much will now change with the new regulations due to be promulgated by the Minister of Agriculture, Ms Thoko Didiza in terms of the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 43 of 1983. The regulations will declare various species of plants to be "weeds" and "invader plants", and will strictly regulate the circumstances under which they may be grown. The regulations provide for powers to enter land without the permission of the landowner to clear weeds and invader plants.
The regulations will create a mechanism for preventing the sale, rezoning, subdivision or change in land-use practive of infested land. It is anticipated that certain of these powers will be delegated to Working for Water officials. The regulations will also restrict the transfer, re-zoning or subdivision of land, and departures and changes to land-use practices, unless weeds and invader plants are cleared, or financial provision is made for clearance.
The National Veld and Forest Fire Act, 101 of 1998 may be used to control the vegetation that creates a fire risk. To ensure an integrated management strategy for this vegetation, Working for Water will need to liaise with Fire Protection Associations.
Section 28 of the National Environmental Management Act 1998 authorises the Director General to issue directives to persons causing significant pollution or damage to the environment to remove the source of the pollution. These powers are likely to be supplemented by the future development of comprehensive legislation dealing with the control of alien invasive species generally.
The possibility of levying stream-flow reduction charges in terms of the National Water Act, 36 of 1998 on land owners who retain invading alien plants on their properties will need to be determined in the future.
A symposium on the Best Management Practices for Preventing and Controlling Invading Alien Species was hosted by the Working for Water programme at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town from 22-24 February, 2000. A milestone event for the emerging partnership between South Africa and the United States, the meeting also marked a commitment within the SADC countries to collaborate in this field. The importance of forging partnerships, effective communication and information-sharing between all participating nations and sectors, was a strong theme throughout the symposium.
Many leading experts in the field participated in the meeting, including key-note speaker Dr Jeff McNeely (IUCN), most of the senior participants in the Global Invasive Species Programme, and a very strong contingent of experts from various USA institutions.
Delegates from SADC countries, the US, Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland attended presentations and workshops on best management practices for terrestrial and aquatic invasive species.
The symposium produced the "Kirstenbosch Declaration" - the delegates vision for the management of invasive species, and an eloquent call to collaborative action.
There was widespread praise for the relevance of the symposium, which certainly helped to advance the cause of programmes to control and prevent invasive species.
As an integrated development initiative, Working for Water cannot function without the full participation of its partners. The programme is governed by a Board of twelve Ministers, the key roles of which are to establish policy and to ensure that the programme promotes inter-Departmental collaboration.
The programme has identified the critical need to address HIV/AIDS. In the year under review, 25 people were trained and a "peer-educators" programme was piloted in Mpumalanga. Condoms were distributed in every project. This, combined with our primary health-care programme, has provided an opportunity to link up with the Department of Health, whose clinics have been important partners.
Another challenge raised through our clearing programme is what is done with the biomass that is produced.
Here the Department of Trade and Industry has a critical role to play in helping us design and launch a secondary industry programme using the wood for productive purposes. The programme has joined hands with the Committee for Private/Public Partnerships under the Department and, based on its experience, has designed a Spatial Development Initiative support programme.
The programme is clearing land that could be put to more productive use. Here the lead of the Department of Agriculture is being followed. Working for Water has a joint project with Land Care, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and provincial and local government, through Mpumalanga, called the Save the Sand project. The private sector, in the form of the Sabi-Sand Wildtuin, has contributed R2,2 million to the project as well.
The Save the Sand project in the Northern Province is, together with the Ukuvuka Project along the Table Mountain chain, the most ambitious project initiated by the Working for Water programme. Minister Ronnie Kasrils led a team of high-ranking politicians to inspect the project, along with project manager Sharon Pollard (left) and project chairperson Janet Love (right).
The programme has been developing a policy position for public works programmes, in partnership with the Department of Labour and the Department of Public Works, amongst others. The Department of Labour has also partnered the programme in various youth-development initiatives.
The programme is engaged with NICRO and the Department of Welfare for the training and re-introduction into society of ex-offenders. The project has placed a total of 328 clients in six provinces. Vital child-care options for the children of workers are also being established through this partnership with the Department.
Ex-Offenders attending a NICRO workshop on business management.
The programme completed its pioneering project with the Department of Land Affairs, ensuring that the land reform process was enhanced by clearing the affected land and offering employment opportunities to assist in the settlement of the land.
A fundamental partnership, particularly given the proposed regulation, is that with local authorities. The link with the Hermanus Municipality, for example, is one where they gain control over the problem of invading alien plants, create employment and training opportunities, and have a more sustainable water management programme. This was recognized in the partnership being given the Impumelelo Award.
Rand Water has been involved in wetland rehabilitation in the Upper Wilge River catchment. Here haybale channel plugs are used in the rehabilitation work.
Rand Water has been one of the programmes strongest and most enduring partners. It has led the way in terms of water management institutions investing in their long-term water security, with far-sighted investments into the clearing of invading alien plants and the rehabilitation of wetlands in catchments. Their budget of R12,5 million for the past financial year has taken their commitment thus far to almost R38 million, and they have been the mainstay of the work done in the Free State, northern KwaZulu/Natal and Gauteng. We owe them a particular vote of thanks.
Homeless Peoples Federation
The programme has been strengthening its links with the Homeless Peoples Federation (and the Peoples Dialogue NGO) around its social interventions. The Federation is particularly strong on alternative - and empowering - micro-lending options, and has had a profound impact on the thinking within the programme.
Chainsaw and Herbicide Companies
The programme owes thanks to the partnerships that have evolved with those providing equipment, such as chainsaws (Husquarna and Stihl) and herbicides. Given the dangers associated with both, their assistance in training is particularly welcomed.
In terms of new partnership agreement with Working for Water, Sappi and Mondi, together with the Forest Owners Association, agreed to clear 80% of alien vegetation on river banks and in wetlands on their land within five years and the remaining 20% in the next 10 years. In addition to this, they will provide technical expertise and training for staff. In return, the programme will contribute R2 million to a clearing and communication programme with the two companies.
As part of the partnership, a technical advisor and mentor has been seconded to the Working for Water programme by Mondi Forests. He has initiated a self-assessment programme, and will be focusing on health and safety aspects.
A final vote of thanks must go to our foreign funders.
Our sincere thanks to them all.
A group of Working for Water trainees with their instructor funded by Husqvama and Stihl and the programme. From left: Jan Olivier, Martha Matthews, Jabulani Mlangeni (instructor),Charmaine van der Vend, Rhona Scheepers, Brian Speelman, and Melakhuya Pantsi.
Ukuvuka has had unprecedented coverage for a conservation programme in South Africa.
Out of the ashes of the fire grew the Santam/Cape Argus Ukuvuka Campaign. The principal goal of the campaign is to ensure that such intense fires never occur along the Table Mountain chain again. Allied to this is the goal to undertake rehabilitation work to prevent the mudslides and flooding that will otherwise follow such intense fires. A third goal is to provide training and capacity to deal with the threat of fires, particularly in poor communities. The campaign also offers much scope for poverty-relief employment opportunities.
Santam, the short-term insurance giant, donated R20 million (over four years) to the campaign - one of the biggest private-sector contribution to a conservation project in the history of the country. The Cape Argus pledged R5,4 in advertising coverage, and extensive editorial coverage. Nedbank weighed in with R5 million, and Total with R4 million (with a pledge to try to make it R5 million). The Cape Metropolitan Council is to make R30 million available over the four years. This is in addition to the high investment by the Global Environmental Facility in clearing invading alien plants along the mountain chain, and the support of the Working for Water programme.
Ukuvuka is well resourced, has clear goals, and has the capacity to be a crucial showcase of what is possible. Principal in this will be its pioneering work in implementing the regulations coming out of the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act.
Planting an indigenous sapling to mark the launch of Ukuvuka, from left kneeling: Dr. Leon Vermaak (MD of Santam), Mr Ronnie Kasrils (Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry). Standing from left are Ms Cheryl Gillwald (Deputy Minister of Justice), Mr Jonathon Molapo (Total SA), Mr Moegsien Williams, (Editor of Cape Argus), Ms Nomaindia Mfeketo (Mayor of Cape Town) and Mr Mavuso Msimang (CEO of SA National Parks).
1 APRIL1999 - 31 MARCH 2000
These figures do not reflect the major budget expenditures of partnership programmes, such as through the forestry industry and Cape Peninsula National Parks. The Ukuvuka Campaign will be reflected in next years expenditure.
1999 / 2000 expenditure was hampered by the severe flooding in February / March 2000.
These figures are still to be audited.
The WfW programme has won 22 awards since it began in 1995. In 1999/2000, the programme achieved further recognition:
The inaugural Impumelelo Awards for innovation recognized the Working for Water programme (and one of its spin-off projects, the Greater Hermanus Water Conservation Project). The designers of Working for Water crafts made of alien invading wood won an FNB Vita Award in 1999. Of 300 entrants, Working for Water was a sector winner in both the Social Upliftment category (Government Sector) and the Environmental Care category (Government Sector) of the 1999 EmPower Awards. Minister Kader Asmal, under whose leadership Working for Water was begun, has been honoured with the Stockholm Water Prize for 2000 - the "Nobel Prize" for water. The Working for Water programme was a core component of his nomination.