Zandvlei Trust

The Sand River Catchment Forum.

Minutes of the meeting held on: Thursday 11 August 2005 at 14h00 at the Alphen Centre,
in the Neville Riley Room.


B Nicolson CoCT: CSRM (Chairman)
Cllr J Burger CoCT: Councillor
Cllr J Heming CoCT: Councillor
M Thompson CoCT: Engineering Services
D Davey Friends of Die Oog
G Evans Bervliet R&RPA
J Garman CoCT: Environmental Management
Cllr J Heming Councillor
R Camp Diep River R&RPA
C Giljam Marina da Gama (Secretary)
Michael Dreyer Wynberg Resident
B Ratcliffe Friends of Constantia Greenbelt
John Green Friends of Tokai Forest


V Marincowitz FBAC / Zandvlei Trust
James Forsyth
Friends of Tokai Forest
Desmond Firth Princessvlei Civic Association 
N Newman
CoCT: Environmental Management
Mandy Noffke Working for Wetlands
E Foot CoCT: Nature Conservation Zandvlei
K Jacobs CoCT: Nature Conservation Zandvlei
T Persent CoCT: Dist 10 SPA Engineering
J Gibbs SP Dev Forum
Cllr I Jones Councillor
Cllr I Iverson Councillor
Adele McCann SPA: Planning
John Fowkes
Candice Haskins
CoCT: Scientific Services
Michael Dreyer Wynberg Resident

1. Previous Minutes;  Accepted.

2. Interest Item: Princessvlei

Jan Burger noted that Princessvlei can be considered as part of the Sand River Catchment area and in terms of the initiatives that are being taken by the Princessvlei Civic Association they are considering Little Princessvlei, Big Princessvlei and all associated watercourses, such as Mocke River, together.

The Association is trying to get CoCT commitment to reduce the litter load on POS as a co-operative effort with members of the public, schools, scouts, businesses and even local homeless people. As part of this initiative Jan attended a solid waste meeting to address the problems of litter in POS, gutters, vegetation etc which ends up in the water courses.

Litter Traps: He noted that litter traps all the way down the canals needed regular cleaning. Alien weeds now trap the litter at the inlets to the vleis where it is difficult to clean.

Schools Initiative: Jan described a program whereby schools (Heathfield, Westcott, St Anthonys, Southfield etc) clear litter from POS on a monthly basis leaving it in black bags for council to collect. They are incentivised by year end prizes.
A letter drop by the Civic Association to local residents and learners was made concerning "Operation Clean-up" in their area starting with a pilot project along the Railway fence Station Road Heathfield and hoping to extend to the whole civic area. People were encouraged to report dumping offenders.
An open air classromm has been created in the Mocke River area where industry have become involved by way of funding plants and Coke have sponsored the Yeshua Christian School to support their environmental and social endeavours.
Other initiatives include a competition to come up with a slogan to paste onto stormwater intakes that would alert people to the fact that those intakes communicate directly to rivers and the sea; putting up environmental signage at Mocke River; finding ways of keeping rivers clean using the Expanded Public Works program and encouraging local homeless people to play a part in cleaning efforts and giving out food parcels in return.
Jan noted that he had seen a worthwhile presentation given by Wouter Loots on 'Waste and Street Sweeping'.

Joan Heming stated the need to encourage property owners and developers to face their properties onto the river thereby including it as an asset rather than turning backs to the river which then usually becomes a dumping ground.


3.1 Klein Constantia Dam

Joy Garman reported that construction is now complete and this item can be taken off the agenda it being understood that all stipulated environmental care was taken during construction and that silt curtains will remain in place until groundcover is established and downstream siltation risks eliminated.

3.2 Groot Constantia Silt Trap

Agreed that Groot Constantia be pressurized to honour their previous agreement to fund silt traps on the Grootboschkloof side of their property. BN and MT to try and find a copy of that agreement. (Action: BN and MT)

3.3 GZENR Progress Report

Application for the proclamation of the GZENR was submitted to CapeNature on 3 March 2005 and is currently being considered by their legal department where a decision is to be made whether to proclaim the reserve ito the Nature Conservation Ordinance or the Protected Areas Act. (For more see ZAC minutes - Annexure A)

In either eventuality a Management Plan is not required prior to proclamation.

3.4 Leopard Toad

BN reported that Anne Stewart's research document had been forwarded to him in hard copy. Any forum member wishing to have sight of it is to contact him.

3.5 Infested tributaries to the Princess Kasteel River

It was reported that the Dept of Public Works had put out a tender for clearing work in Soetvlei. A problem had arisen in that the tenders received were much more costly than anticipated (R350 000 compared with R 85 000 expected!). It is understood that the Dept of Agriculture will follow up and John Green will keep the forum posted.

3.6 Diep River Disaster Management Plan

BN reported that the City's Disaster Management Branch in conjunction with CSRM will be meeting shortly to formulate an evacuation plan based on an early warning system from the Doodrift River flow gauging station. It was suggested that the police as well as local vagrants would need to be parties notified in the event of a flood. BN to keep forum posted.
(Action: BN and TP to meet with Disaster Management)


4.1 WQ Report - Scientific Services 

Noted that CH was on leave and that a comprehensive report will be made at the last forum meeting of the year.
It was noted that a sewage pump station on the Keyser River at Military Road had failed in early July. Overflows appeared not to have caused undue risk.

4.2 SPM Projects [MT/TP]

No capital projects are currently underway due to lack of funding. Maintenance projects are on track.

4.3 ZAC Report (See Annexure A for the mins of the meeting of 18 July 2005)

It is to be noted that:-

  • The sand bar developing in the outlet channel will soon require dredging. MT is getting a survey done to quantify the volume of silt to be dredged. Of concern is the reduced amenity value for paddlers, reduced salt water influx potential and possible flooding risks.

  • The walkways adjacent the outlet canal, downstream of the bridge, require attention to be made safe.

  • The litter trap at the end of the Sand River Canal is still down and the vlei is getting more clogged with litter. An extension to this trap is required to protect the reed beds from litter.

4.4 Die Oog

Denis Davey reported that 34 ducks and geese are resident and that 2000 plants have been planted recently. Mike Smith has completed the fence and chairs and tables have been donated. Forum members are invited to the AGM and preceding activities as per below:-

  • The Friends of Die Oog wish to extend a warm invitation to you for their Annual General Meeting and talk by Mike Luger on "Spanschemaat River and its Tributaries: Past and Present" on Thursday 29 September at Die Oog.

  • The AGM will be preceded by a Bird Ringing Demonstration by Doug Harebottle of the ADU at UCT from 15.00 to 17.00 and a "Duck Launch" at 17.00 when we will be releasing two Spurwing Geese and two Whiteface Whistling Ducks on Die Oog.

  • Mike Luger is the Chief Environmental Scientist at Ninham Shand, has been involved in many of the major recent water projects in the Western Cape including a study of the Constantia Riverine Open Space System and his talk should be of interest to all involved in conservation in the Constantia Valley and Western Cape.


5.1 Development Applications - Rezoning for sub-division of erf 3356 and 3355 (Soetvlei). JH noted with concern that POS is threatened by this proposal and procedure is questioned. JH to write to the Director of Town Planning to request that this application be withdrawn until the terms of NEMA are met. It is to be noted that the forum will support all efforts to protect the wetland, green belt and continuity of walkways it being acknowledged that this is an integral part of the "Source to Sea" project envisaged for the Keysers River.
JG asked JH to forward the extract of NEMA that relates to wetlands, to him so that it can be used in objections.

Note: Subsequent to the meeting Martin Thompson had met with the planners to stipulate that a servitude be registered over the area within the 50 year flood plain, that no fences be permitted in the flood plain and that a special sewer connection be installed above the floodline for the development, these being requirements from stormwater management.

5.2 Source to Sea Initiative - It was reported that MN had used funds from Working for Wetlands to clear aliens and replant with indigenous plants.
An exploratory walk had been undertaken to examine the Prinsesskasteel River as it meanders along a path heavily altered by historic manipulations. It was noted that a good project (for students or forum members) would be to do some historic research to see if the original route could be ascertained.
Mandy Noffke is to be asked to present her vision of "Source to Sea" at the next form meeting.

5.3 Diep River Flood Disaster Management Plan - BN noted that the city is preparing an evacuation plan for the area Burnham Road to Alnwick Road in the event of a serious flood. TR&S and Disaster Management are involved with developing this plan. It was further stressed that capital works need to be undertaken, such as the upgrades recommended in the Liebenberg and Stander report. Thus far capital funding requests have been rejected by the decision makers. It was noted that the development of the old age home downstream of Rathfelder was about to commence. It was agreed that a meeting be held urgently with engineers and planners to ensure that due process is followed.

5.4 Environmental Issues:-

  • Abstraction Montery Drive - Jan Botes, BN and JG had visited the site and spoken to the owner requesting that he draw off only what is necessary to keep his pond full. Concern was expressed that no aquatic weeds be released from the property. The owner (Mr Moonsammy) maintains that his title deed allows the abstraction and has undertaken to forward the title deed to BN.

  • Priseskasteel River (Dendal area Tokai) - BN and JG responded to a complaint of infilling downstream of Maryland Ave.
    (Action BN & JG to request access to inspect further)

  • Constantia Rivers - BR is organising special introductory walks on Heritage Day to introduce newcomers to the delights of the river walkways.

5.5 Squatter Problem - Noted that immediate reports of new squatter settlements need to be made if any action is to be taken to protect POS. Removals are becoming more difficult due to ever relaxed legislation.

NEXT MEETING:  Remaining schedule for 2005 is as follows: 10 November.




Held on 18 July 2005 at the Zandvlei Yacht Club


Vincent Marincowitz         788 3011       Zandvlei Trust
Natalie Newman               710 8049       City of Cape Town  (Chairperson)
Ian Gildenhuys                 788 9350       COCT Environmental Health
Cherry Giljam                  788 7931        Friends of Park Island
Johan Heroldt                  701 1233        COCT City Parks
Martin Thompson             710 8128        COCT Engineering
Erika Foot                       701 7452        COCT Nature Conservation
Bryan Nicholson              487 2674        COCT Catchment Management
Weed Harvester operator  701 1233        COCT City Parks


Rob McClean
Candice Haskins
Talcott Persent


NN welcomed all present.

1.  Reed growth

Monitoring of reed growth at the northern end of Park Island and the south-easterly corner of Wildwood Island is still going on. New reed growth is only starting now.

2.  Operational plan for pondweed

CG said she has pondweed growing at her house. JH has an operational plan in place to harvest pond weed. 1 harvester is at Zandvlei and 1 at Little Princess Vlei. The weed harvester can not get into the canal at the moment due to nesting birds. JH undertook to inspect the growth of pond weed in the canals while the water levels were low.
It is noted that Pond weed is returning in some of the areas where there was a 100% die back.

3.  Salinity and turbidity

Salinity is still being monitored. CG apologised for not taking turbidity readings, she was requested to measure it for the next meeting. NN requested that monitoring of salinity should carry on.

It was noted that salinity readings are being taken on a regular basis and that the water has a very low salinity at present. See attached water quality results.

4.  Litter trap

Talcot Percent installed the new removable litter trap .it was noted by CG that this needs to be extended three fold. The effectiveness of this trap will be monitored and reported on at the next meeting. CG

5. Channel scouring/Thesens Bridge

After the ZAC meeting Martin and Bryan met at Thesen's Bridge. It was agreed that a comprehensive survey would be required of the entire area stretching from a few hundred meters upstream of the bridge down to the mouth. An analysis of the survey would help to determine the best engineering approach i.e. could dredging/excavation be undertaken in thirds or would it only be feasible to undertake the work in halves. Bryan also suggested that the survey be submitted to the consultants running the model to determine whether the extensive sand build up will have an effect on flood levels. The consultants might also be able to advise on the best method of excavation.
Once the above is complete an EIA will have to be submitted to Province for an ROD. Once the Province have ruled we might be able to undertake the work in house, presumably during the non rainfall period of next summer. At present I would guess that we would aim for the latter part of January and all of February when water levels are low and the big spring tides are not present. I'm not sure if this would tie in with fish migration and the sand prawns.


The application for the proclamation of the ZENR was submitted to CapeNature on 3 March 2005. The last we heard, on 1 July 2005, it was sitting with CapeNature's legal department. They were in the process of deciding whether to proclaim the reserve i.t.o. the Nature Conservation Ordinance or the Protected Areas Act.

Process if proclaimed i.t.o. Nature Conservation Ordinance:
1. Minister proclaims local authority nature reserve
2. Proclamation published in the government gazette

My understanding is that in the next year or 2 the Nature Conservation Ordinance will be updated to be in line with the conservation status categories of the Protected Areas Act. The ZENR will have to align to one of these new categories.

Process if proclaimed i.t.o. the Protected Areas Act:
1. The status of the ZENR will have to be transferred, with all the other City reserves, i.t.o. the CapeNature/City of Cape Town MOU.
2. A contract will have to be negotiated, a management plan compiled and, if necessary, rezoning must be undertaken. Restrictions must be written into the title deeds.
3. This process is not too clear as the Protected Areas Act only came into effect last year.

7. Tubeworms

Unfortunately most of the tube worms were cleaned out from under the Park Island bridge. It Is not known who did this. . It was envisaged that only a channel would be cleared to allow small craft and canoes to go under the bridge and that not all the tube worm would be damaged.
A Conservation student at Zandvlei is doing a project on the recolonisation of tube worm, this report will be available at the end of the year.

8. Park Island

Lot of planting has taken place. Most of the plants were from Rondevlei Nature reserve and working for wetlands. JH is to provide more chippings for mulch and for on the path ways.. The mariner residents have brought a chipper and chip all garden refuse and sell wood chips as an income.

9. Mallards

Erika has started the eradication programme. A pamphlet is to be distributed to all residents in the mariner and they program will try and be done as sensitively as possible.

10. General

It was noted that the mouth is permanently open in winter and in the summer months the mouth is opened and closed according to the Tides.

It was noted that there had been greys buck, Cape Clawless Otter and mongoose spoor.

It was reported that there had been a lot of planting of riverne plants at the Westlake wetlands and that Una Hartley was doing a wonderful job.

Ian Gildenhuys noted that there was a sewage pump station failure on 1 July. There were no major problems as a result and all water users at the sea scouts and yacht club and canoe club were notified.

Erika informed the committee that Leopard Toad breeding season starts in August and that sign boards had been erected for information.

NEXT MEETING of ZAC: 14h00 Monday October 17, 2005 at the Zandvlei Sports Club.


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