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March 2007

Uitkamp Action Group

The scene has been set & we are tying up the last remnants of the administrative tasks so that the ‘Action Group’ can swing into action.

We are affiliated to WESSA (Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa); we have a bank account - with very little money in it at the moment; an application has been made to be recognised as a Non Profit Organisation - we want to be & to remain beyond Trevor’s grasp, in spite of having next to no money & we have had our first hack. This took place on the 09 March. What a satisfying feeling it was. To know that we have made a start with the assistance that the concerned citizens of D’Urbanvale can give to Erika Foot, Vibeke Kragh & Jackie Swart of Cape Nature. They are setting their collective sights on restoring & rehabilitating the Uitkamp area that the walls of D’Urbanvale surround. Jackie dedicates all of her available effort into the Uitkamp Wetland & Renosterveld remnant.

Our first target was a squad of Port Jackson willows. They have been annihilated. A great start even though it was 35 in the shade.

While we were busy we were advised by a member of the Meerenbosch community that there was a serious leak of sewerage erupting just outside the boundary between the houses comprising Meerenbosch & the Wetland. It was contaminating the lawns of the residents close to the leak & the Wetland of course. All thanks to Jackie & Vibeke who took photographs & got the authorities to respond within the hour!!

This sort of failure & its attack on our environment can not be allowed to continue. It is not the first time this has happened. It is ruinous to the wetland ecology. Bear in mind the proposed housing development – with the sewers as they are – really!

The Uitkamp Action Group has had its inaugural AGM on the 13 February. It was very successful but regrettably the attendance was not as good as was anticipated. The committee has been appointed & they are Mike Yoell chairman; Pieter Kriel vice chairman; Don McHardy treasurer; Judy Müller secretary; Gerrit Wiechers member without portfolio at the moment, until we have had our first committee meeting on the 15 March. The ex officio member from Cape Nature will be Jackie Swart as she is the champion of the Uitkamp area.

Jackie Swart has drawn up an action plan to tackle the tasks we have ahead of us. You may recall that virtually nothing has been done to sustain the Uitkamp area since it was proclaimed in 1998. This is in spite of all the undertakings that were written into the intentions to preserve this core site of world importance. Sad & an indictment against us all.

The first priority Jackie has is the cutting of firebreaks & the elimination of ‘urban creep’ into the area. We have an invasion, conforming to epidemic proportions, of kikuyu grass into, & within the Uitkamp area. This is not assisted by those individuals who allow or encourage the dumping of garden refuse into the area – conveniently over the fence. We can see it folks. Spraying of the kikuyu has commenced & will continue – right up to the fence lines. Preparations will be started for the clearing & cutting back of invasive domestic plant growth. This will be where it has crossed over the fence lines. It does not belong in the Wetland & Renosterveld area at all.

We have many names on our records. Some are now fully paid up members of the Uitkamp Action Group & a number who did indicate a willingness to volunteer their support have as yet we not made their commitment. The application forms carry all the detail. We NEED help. This can be supplied by either assisting us financially through signing on as a member & then continuing to pay your annual subs & leaving it at that, or, the other possibility is to sign on as a member, pay the subs & become  volunteer workers in the work parties that will be operational both during the week & at week ends – as per Jackie’s announced plans. Before anyone can render physical assistance in the field, the indemnity on the application form must be signed confirming the individuals acknowledgement of the fact.

Heavy duty field work is only one aspect where assistance is required. There are many others which will not be so demanding such as rendering input at the nursery at the Durbanville Nature Reserve where help is needed to propagate indigenous plants for the reserve areas. We also need help with tasks where knowledge of zoology; botany; photography; artwork/design; teaching; marketing/P.R.; computer skills will be usefully employed. If you have a flair for fund raising that will be a well exploited attribute. The important aspect is that it is not all going to be one way traffic either, as the Uitkamp Action Group will be ensuring that you will benefit from your association with it as well. It has to be a win, win situation.

The membership will entitle everyone to partake in the ‘social belonging’ that we plan & this will include talks on related subjects; educational workshops; access to WESSA sponsored activities & presentations etc. The interaction with & amongst neighbours that you don’t even know will become a reality. That will be different.

The subscriptions for the year are as follows. Individual R 30, 00; Family R 40, 00; Corporate R 250, 00 & Pensioner/ Student R 20, 00. Of course it need hardly be said, but it will be - should you want to make a donation then that will be most gratefully received too. Banking details are on the application form – right at the bottom.

So there we are – we have started the long haul. The goal is a rehabilitated & beautiful Uitkamp Wetland & Renosterveld remnant that the world can be proud of & we can all cherish & enjoy. It is on our door step & needs your special brand of care.

Best wishes to you all & thanks so much for your support.

M.J.Y. 10/03/07

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