PMB in talks to find solution to garden area

2016-02-10 11:37
The Willowton Oil vegetable garden (back) sits on municipal land close to the Baynespruit stream. The Msunduzi Municipality says the land is part of a project to rehabilitate the river and surrounding vegetation (foreground).

The Willowton Oil vegetable garden (back) sits on municipal land close to the Baynespruit stream. The Msunduzi Municipality says the land is part of a project to rehabilitate the river and surrounding vegetation (foreground). ( Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - Negotiations for the Willowton Group to continue operating a vegetable garden that supports nine charities are under way with the Msunduzi Municipality.

The Witness reported recently that group co-owner Ali Moosa started a vegetable garden 15 months ago, but last year received a letter from Msunduzi saying the garden broke the municipality’s open space by-laws and he should stop growing vegetables.

Msunduzi spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said on Tuesday that the municipality was in the process of rehabilitating the Baynespruit stream, which runs alongside the land used by the Willowton Group for the garden.

“In September 2014, letters were delivered to all [owners of] properties along the Baynespruit, informing them of the rehabilitation project.

“The letter urged them to partner with the municipality in improving water quality to a standard where it could be used for irrigation.”

Madonda said in November 2014 the Msunduzi environmental management unit received a report that a bulldozer was clearing a flood plain on municipal land behind the Willowton Oil factory.

“The land is situated in the immediate vicinity of a wetland. Unit officials met Moosa on site to find out who had authorised the clearing and what was being done.

“Moosa said he was expanding an existing vegetable garden. Officials then said that the bulldozer was clearing natural vegetation in a sensitive area and that he should stop the work and submit a formal application to lease the land.”

Madonda said the gardening continued and, as no formal lease application was submitted by January 2015, a compliance notice was issued to Willowton Oil “to cease all work on municipal land until formal approval had been ­obtained”.

Court papers were subsequently served on the company in January 2016.

Madonda said although urban agriculture was encouraged, formal approval was needed.

“As stream banks, flood plains and wetlands are ecologically sensitive, any activity in these areas, including gardening, must be carried out sensitively and with proper management,” Madonda said.

She said the municipality would be amenable to postponing the matter in court, pending the outcome of a formal application for use of the land by ­Willowton Oil.

Moosa said on Tuesday that the company did “not necessarily agree with all the comments made by the municipality to date”.

“We are grateful that the municipality has offered to open lines of communication to resolve this matter and we would like to work towards an amicable solution, as the community is reliant on the produce and we feel that that should be the focus of the matter at hand.

“We will advise our legal department that the municipality will be amenable to postponing the matter pending the outcome of a formal application for the use of the land,” he said.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  garden

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Mkhwebane makes her mark

2016-10-23 00:00

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.