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DUNE vegetation destruction and Admiralty Reserve encroachment continue unabated on the South Coast, with many residents contacting the South Coast Herald to express their concern about these problems.
This destruction is exacerbated by holiday home owners who don’t seem to realise it is illegal to ‘trim’ the vegetation to improve sea views or to increase the size of seaside properties by incorporating coastal public property – owned by the citizens of South Africa – within their own boundaries.
According to South Coast Conservancy Forum chairman, Alex Skene, it was totally illegal to touch any indigenous vegetation within the Admiralty Reserve, without authorisation. This included the scrubby vegetation on the primary dunes and the taller trees and shrubs that made up the dune forests behind them. Anyone who damaged this vegetation without permission would be liable for prosecution.
He pointed out the coastal vegetation was a valuable but incredibly sensitive environment.
“The tough plants that grow on the primary dunes protect the more sensitive dune forest plants from salt-laden wind. Without them the beautiful coastal red milkwoods and other dune forest trees could not survive, so even trimming the dunes can do enormous damage,” he said. Destroying this vegetation also made our coast more susceptible to alien invasive infestations.
Mr Skene also reminded residents that intact coastal vegetation formed a buffer between the sea and shoreline properties, protecting them from tidal surges and storms.
Ray Nkonyeni Municipality was asked about a number of environmental cases it was apparently investigating but no information was forthcoming. Complaints received from readers concerning dune destruction in Hibberdene, Port Edward and Southport were forwarded to the municipality with no response.
“Ray Nkonyeni Municipality facilitates investigations and inspection as we cannot enforce the relevant legislation,” said municipal spokesman Nomusa Zulu, who also provided useful contacts.
Contact the National Department of Environmental Affairs (Mzondeleli Dlulane at 021 4059408 or MDlulane@environment.gov.za) regarding the damaging of and illegal encroachment into the Admiralty Reserve.
The provincial Department of Environmental Affairs (Glorious Mhlanga at 039 6884941 or Glorious.Mhlanga@kznedtea.gov.za) deals with illegal commencement of listed activities without environmental authorisation in the Admiralty Reserve.
Regarding damage to protected trees or coastal forest, crayfish poaching or biodiversity issues, contact the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Karen Moodley at 033 3927741 and KarenM@daff.gov.za, or Ayanda Mnyungula at 033 3428101 and AyandaMny@daff.gov.za).
You can contact the municipal environmental department’s Feziwe Mhlongo at 039 6882254/77 or Feziwe.Mhlongo@rnm.gov.za and Liziswa Jiba at 039 688 2271 or Liziswa.Jiba@rnm.gov.za.