Coast KZN

30 Jun 2021

uMgeni Park residents urged not to cut riverine vegetation

(Northglen News) Picture: Rosemary Harrison, member of the Umgeni Estuary Conservancy has expressed her concern after sections of the riverine vegetation along Riverside Road were illegally cut down in the name of a 'river view'.

The Umgeni Estuary Conservancy has urged residents living on Riverside Road to refrain from cutting down riverine vegetation. This comes after two sections of vegetation were cut down in the vicinity of Thames Place, all in the name of securing a ‘river view’. Several trees were hacked at, while some vegetation was completely cut down blocking the bike track below Riverside Road.

One of the indigenous plants hacked at was a Pavetta lanceolata (Weeping Brides Bush) and concerns have been raised for a Cordia caffra tree which is the only one on the river bank.

Rosemary Harrison, member of the conservancy said she was saddened and angry by the latest attempt to cut down the riverine vegetation.

“When the 87 floods affected Durban, this particular bank along Riverside Road was rebuilt and many of the trees planted were there for a specific reason, to help stop any water from flowing over and flooding the road. I was actually angered by whoever asked for this to be done because if you want a river view, you should walk down to road level and have a look.

“This is unacceptable. Many of the trees and bushes hacked and cut down have been left across the bike path blocking it, which is unacceptable. Many of the indigenous trees and plants have been here for more than a decade and within a day they’ve been cut down. I’m really worried about the Cordia caffra tree which could be targeted as well,” she said.

Harrison added she was concerned that illegal activities had continued despite intervention from the conservancy.

“From what I understand, the people being hired to cut down the vegetation are itinerant workers. Margaret Burger, also of the conservancy, actually confronted one of the workers when she spotted him cutting down a Searsia. It was her initial intervention that made us realise this had happened on more than one occasion.

“The resident, who had given the man the job, had picked him up on the side of the road and then gave him the panga and told him to chop the tree. So, the chopper had no idea where his employer was located or where he lived. We explained to him what he was doing was illegal. Since then, however, it is clear this has not been a deterrent as the person doing this is continuing chopping down the trees illegally,” Harrison said.