ALIEN PLANTS targeted in Msinga

2019-06-12 06:00
PHOTO: SUPPLIEDMECs Sipho Dlomuka and Nomusa Dube-Ncube spray alien plants at the site..

PHOTO: SUPPLIEDMECs Sipho Dlomuka and Nomusa Dube-Ncube spray alien plants at the site..

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THE KwaZulu-Natal government has launched a campaign to eradicate alien plants that are believed to be posing a threat to indigenous plant species and water resources in local communities.

This emerged at the handover of a cheque for the completion of the Mbizweni Phase 3 electrification project in Msinga on June 7.

The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs has assigned a team of 15 highly trained people who will spray and destroy invasive alien plants over a period of three months.

KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, and Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka started with the eradication of invasive alien plants which the residents have been battling and the electrification programme in the area.

The most prevalent alien plants are the imbricate prickly pears, which are of Mexican origin and known locally as “umthonti.”

Dube-Ncube said the prevalence of alien plants was a threat to indigenous plant species and water resources. She said she was working on ensuring that the clearing of these plants has huge job creation potential.

The MEC said that as well as encroaching into water sources and diminishing wetlands, the plants also threaten critically scarce grazing lands that many people rely on for livestock farming.

She also cautioned against flagrant disposal of litter and waste, which finds its way to drinking water sources and contaminates it.

Bongani Biyela, spokesperson for the Keep Umvoti Clean Youth Agency, echoed Dube-Ncube’s words, saying: “Dumping waste into the river has serious ramifications for the environment.

“Rivers and dams dry up as a result of dumping litter into the water.

“Water creatures such as fish are also affected.

“People dumping into the rivers should take into account that there are people drinking the water from the river, and they might end up infected by diseases such as the diarrhoea,” Biyela said.

Both MECs promised to come back to the area to look at water provision projects as the area also battles with water supply.

They urged residents to look after the government infrastructure and not destroy it.

A cheque of R1.5 million was handed over to the Msinga Local Municipality to assist with the electrification programme.

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