Trees take a breather in court

2016-11-15 06:00

No felling will take part in Tokai forest for the rest of this year because judgment in the court case between Sanparks, MTO Forestry and Parkscape has been reserved.

The matter was heard at the Western Cape High Court last Monday. Judge Pat Gamble reserved judgement until the first quarter of next year.

Parkscape took Sanparks and MTO to court in a bid to halt the pine tree felling in Lower Tokai.

Parkscape argued that Sanparks and MTO had contravened the Tokai Cecilia Management Framework.

“In the interest of all stakeholders, Sanparks and MTO Forestry stopped the tree felling in order for the legal process to conclude.

“The tree felling is undertaken by MTO in terms of a lease agreement concluded between MTO and the then Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. This lease agreement was subsequently transferred to Sanparks with the management of the Cecilia and Tokai plantations by the organisation,” says Lesley Ann Meyer, Table Mountain National Park manager.

“Despite the legal mandate that MTO Forestry has in terms of tree felling, it was decided not to continue while the court case is taking place,” says Meyer.

After the felling started in August petitions were created to stop it, and also by those who were for it.

Those in favour of the felling said it was needed to give the critically endangered fynbos a chance to recover. Those against the felling said the pines gave a sense of security.

ConfidentAccording a Facebook post Parkscape members are confident that they will have things their way.

One post after the court hearing read: “Our senior counsel John Newdigate was magnificent and kept the applicant’s argument crisply focused. We have been privileged to work with a wonderful legal team.

“Judgement has been reserved and will be delivered at a later date, probably in the first quarter of next year, and until then, the undertaking not to fell remains in place.

“We are of course quietly optimistic that our view will prevail in the outcome. Heartfelt thanks to you all, and above all to the great many donors from the community whose generosity and public-spiritedness made this application possible.”

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