Good intentions - unintended consequences

2017-03-07 06:00

THE Keep Hillcrest Beautiful Association (KHBA) is an NPO and a Public Benefit Organisation that has beautified and cared for the area for the past 10 years.

The imbalances of the past were the reason for the establishment of KHBA and came about as a result of a policy statement by the then mayor, in 2006, with which KHBA is in full agreement, that in order to restore the imbalances of the past, more effort must be expended on previously disadvantaged areas.
As a result of this policy, the KHBA was established as an NPO. It employs previously disadvantaged people and has advantaged them by training in garden maintenance and extended their skills by sending them on an Invasive Alien Plant eradication course.
They have helped the NPO to care for and beautify the area for more than 10 years.

It needs to be emphasised that KHBA is very mindful of the need to alleviate poverty and as such employs five previously unemployed persons.
The work done by KHBA employees on Old Main Road and elsewhere is exemplary and receives many accolades from the community. However a new policy directive for poverty alleviation has been received from eThekwini municipality, with which KHBA is fully in agreement, but which is having serious unintended consequences as well as placing in jeopardy the continued beautification by KHBA.

This policy has impacted Hillcrest directly due to the formation of “co-ops” which have been tasked, instead of KHBA, with maintenance and beautifying of Old Main Road in Hillcrest.

What KHBA finds regrettable is that it is clear that, through no fault of their own, the people employed by the “co-ops” appear to have had no training in gardening skills. This is evidenced by one example of their cutting down to ground the beautiful Dietes plants in Old Main Road and generally “unbeautifying” the area, and leaving a mess in their wake.
KHBA has been reliably informed by a lecturer in garden design that “the Dietes grandiflora and the Dietes bicolor (that has been cut in this instance) will take many months to recover and, in this extreme heat, you will be lucky if you don’t have plant fatalities.”

All that KHBA requests is for the municipality to up-skill the “co-op” workers by providing training in basic gardening skills, before letting them loose on the village and its beautiful established gardens.
That will be a win-win situation for all concerned.

KHBA also feels that it has much to contribute to the beautification and maintenance of the area.

Marge Mitchel l
Chairman
Hillcrest Beautiful Association

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