Bitou Municipality launches 16 days of activism!

Bitou celebrated the launch of this international event by transporting various groups of people from all 7 wards to one central location, St. Mary’s Anglican Church in New Horizons on the 25 November 2013.

The proceedings started off with some joyous songs and dance celebration from our elderly groups hailing from New Horizons and Crags. Pastor Len Levendal opened with prayer and delivered a message that, “God created women from a man’s rib therefor she is non-lessor than him, but his equal.”

Various sector departments were in attendance and disseminated information and valuable pointers on how to identify an abusive situation and that community should not look away, but blow the whistle.

The main speakers for the day included Department of Justice, South African Police Service, Child Welfare and the Department of Social Development Representatives and all their messages were based on that we should “Break the Silence by Blowing the Whistle”. •

Helping to put water back into the Keurbooms River

The Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative, a non-profit organization from the Garden Route of South Africa, has started a project to restore the Keurboom River Catchment area and improve the water flow, by clearing thousands of hectares of invasive alien plants such as Wattle. It has received a promise of R8 million in Government funding, if the project itself raises R500,000 before the end of 2013. Eden to Addo has to crowdsource this funding from the public within the next 45 days to keep the Government grant, and has put out an urgent appeal to supporters to contribute towards the funding target.

The Garden Route catchments are a major priority within the Fynbos biome, (a world heritage site) for invasive alien plant control. In 2000, half the fynbos of the Keurbooms River catchment had been invaded by alien plants and it is projected that this infestation will increase steadily so that by 2025 the Keurbooms stream flow will be reduced by 95%.

The South African Government has recognized the importance of this initiative and has allocated R8 million to the project. These funds will cover wages as well as equipment needed to complete the project. These costs however, do not cover management and transport costs. If a further R500,000 is not raised within 45 days, the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative will lose the funding from the Government. The project is set to begin before the end of 2013 if this last bit of funding is raised in time.

The project will provide 100 much needed jobs in destitute communities, secure the sole water supply of an entire town and restore the integrity of a wilderness river ecosystem.

This alien clearing project covers thousands of hectares of heavily alien-infested land in the mountains and hills behind the town of Plettenberg Bay. It covers a critical catchment area for the Keurbooms River, upon which the entire town, with a population of approximately 50 000, depends. A number of existing landowners have embarked on alien clearing projects in their own capacity, but they nevertheless require significant assistance to solve the problem and truly transform this area.

The project addresses the three major components of integrated catchment management: livelihoods, water security and biodiversity. Most importantly, much needed employment opportunities will be created to clear the invading alien plant species, the river catchment area will be restored to its pristine state and the stream flow will be greatly increased (predicted stream flow improvement is 6 053 110m³/yr.), which will secure the water supply of Plettenberg Bay.

Funding from the National Department of Environmental Affairs will provide the wages for the job opportunities to clear invader plant species. Furthermore, the resultant plant waste will be used to manufacture charcoal, which not only will reduce fire and erosion hazards but also provide entrepreneurs from local communities with small business development opportunities.

Eden to Addo will be training and employing 100 people for 3 years to clear 2000 hectares in the Keurbooms River catchment of alien species. Livelihood opportunities will be created for unemployed in the area and wage targets of 60% women, 20% youth and 2% disabled will be adhered to as far as possible. Further training, support and investment will be provided for the development of the eco-charcoal manufacturing businesses, thereby creating longer term self-sustaining opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

Eden to Addo is well positioned to facilitate both the clearing and the enterprise development aspects of this project, having already spent four years working with landowners in the Keurbooms Corridor. The need for alien clearing in our catchments is paramount – it will provide more water, more work, and more biodiversity for all.
To contribute to the project:
Watch the video:
Contact Joan Berning, CEO of Eden to Addo , 044 533 1623/ email:
Banking details: Account Eden to Addo, Bank Absa # 9186949260, Knysna •

WC Minister hands over houses at Kurland

Western Cape Minister for Human Settlements, Bonginkosi Madikizela, has urged members of the public who are on housing waiting lists to be patient and wait their turn.

He was speaking at the handover of nine houses to beneficiaries at Kurland near Plettenberg Bay, Southern Cape. The project consists of 426 sites. So far 194 houses have been completed at a cost of R18 million. The projected date for completion is next month.

Madikizela says the handover process prioritises the disabled and the elderly. “Supply will always be far less than the demand. As you know, we are experiencing massive immigration to the Western Cape. You know that Bitou or Plettenberg Bay is the first town from the Eastern Cape where people normally settle and that puts a lot of pressure on housing in particular, because a lot of these people come looking for opportunities.”

Among those who received keys to their new homes is 59-year-old, Ellen Salmans, who is wheelchair bound. “I feel so happy for receiving this beautiful house. I feel happy for all the people that received houses and I am happy I met the minister,” says Salmans.

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