Bamboo invasion stumps city dept

2010-12-28 00:00

ALIEN weed control in the Msunduzi Municipality has been given to the wrong department, which does not have the capacity or knowledge to carry out the exercise.

So said ward councillor Glenn McArthur when asked about a case of alien invasion in his ward.

Sizakele Makhathini of Prestbury called The Witness to complain about an invasive alien bamboo that has been encroaching on to her property for the past few years.

She said the vacant plot next to her home was bought by a property developer in 2008 with the intention of building flats.

However, Makhathini said, the property developer changed his mind because of the recession and left the plot vacant.

Makhathini was disappointed because she had hoped the troublesome bamboo would have been eradicated once the flats had been built.

Nevertheless, she contacted the developer regarding the bamboo, but it kept growing.

She approached McArthur who wrote to the municipality’s environmental health department requesting their immediate action, but Makhathini said municipal workers merely inspected the bamboo and then left.

McArthur’s subsequent letters were not acted upon and Makhathini said she is now at her wits’ end as the roots are mushrooming up through her paving.

“It’s a very dangerous situation,” said Makhathini, who fears that the bamboo may grow through the foundation of her house.

McArthur said he has been assisting Makhathini since 2008 to no avail.

He said the main issue is that weed control is usually the responsibility of municipal parks departments.

However, at Msunduzi it falls under environmental health, which is the former department of health inspectors whose function it is to ensure hygiene and bacteria control in the city is maintained, McArthur said.

In effect, environmental health is geared to controlling bacteria rather than weeds and is not versed in controlling alien plants.

Proof of the department’s lack of expertise was evident when McArthur spoke to the property developer.

McArthur said the developer showed him a letter from environmental health stating that he should cut down the bamboo.

McArthur said alien plants can only be eradicated if they are sprayed with poison.

He said the parks department needs to take responsibility instead of making repeated excuses.

“There’s no monitoring or management in parks. Those two Ms don’t exist,” said McArthur.

The municipality failed to respond by the time of going to print.

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