No pellet guns in ‘Zumaville’

2012-10-19 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s green town, Umlalazi-Nkandla, will make life as comfortable and pleasant as possible for its residents, with pergolas everywhere along the streets to shield them from the wind, sun and rain.

Residents of the 150 middle-class houses being planned for the town will be encouraged to live close to nature, according to the draft impact report. It will reportedly cost approximately R1,04 billion in government money to build the ultra-modern green town, about 3,3 km from Zuma’s family compound. Another billion will be raised from the private sector.

Residents will be discouraged from planting exotic grasses, like the thirsty kikuyu, in their gardens. Lawn grasses will have to be indigenous to the area. Only species like Cynodon dactylon, Panicum ecklonii and Panicum maximum will be allowed.

Similarly, only indigenous trees and plants will be permitted in private and public gardens.

According to environmental consultant Kushela Naidoo, the planning of the town is still only in the draft phase.

The town will generate its own electricity, initially by means of solar panels and wind turbines. Surplus electricity could be sold to Eskom.

Future residents will be prohibited from owning pellet guns with which game in the area could be poached or shot. Traps for jackals and wild cats will also be strictly forbidden.

Environmental experts, who wish to remain anonymous, have said they welcome this “green concept”, but are unsure of how the principles can be applied without proper legislation.

One of the experts said that perhaps “a full-time green Scorpion” should be appointed to ensure that the residents live genuinely green.

No motor cycles or quad bikes will be allowed on the banks of the Mamaba River — the town’s source of water.

The Mamaba River is a tributary of the Tugela. Its banks will be rehabilitated and only indigenous trees will be planted to replace exotic trees that are removed.

To prevent erosion during rains, environmentally friendly canals will be built to channel stormwater to the Mamaba River.

Rainwater will also be collected in tanks from the roofs of houses.

The consultants say they are concerned about the negative impact the urban node will have on migrating animals like frogs, snakes and certain mammals.

Walls and fences will restrict these animals’ movements.

Pythons, which are fairly abundant in the area, have to be conserved, according to the consultants. A special programme for catching and relocating pythons will be drawn up and residents will be informed.

Prospective residents will also be informed about and trained in recycling.

The Witness reported yesterday that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will probe the proposed green town, following a complaint submitted to her office by AfriForum.

The civil rights organisation believes the development amounts to preferential treatment for the president’s home town.

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