Well – we’ve had our AGM and started on a new year.
The members voted to accept a new constitution for
Friends of Rietvlei, we can now apply for Nonprofit
Organisation status, as well as apply for income tax
exemption. The first step, to obtain ratification of
the constitution from the Western Cape Branch of
WESSA, has already been done – we recently received
this ratification. We will now formally apply to the
Directorate of Nonprofit Organisations to be
registered as a Nonprofit Organisation. Once we have
obtained our NPO number, we can apply for Exemption
from Income Tax. However, do not expect this process
to be finalised quickly, we expect it to take
At the AGM committee members were elected, at the
first committee meeting after the AGM these members
were elected to various positions as follows:
Chairman: Nelis Visagie
Secretary: Pauline Potton
Treasurer & Conservation: Pat Titmuss
Membership: John Herring
Newsletter, Website & Conservation: Niel van Wyk
After serving on our committee for several years,
Barbara Banks did not stand again due to work
pressure – we thank Barbara for her contribution
over the years, and hope to still see her at our
outings and evening talks.
Another payment of your subscription is required at
this time of the year. Our financial year closed at
the end of March, so it is time again to support our
organisation with your money. Life or Ten Year
members do not have to pay but all Ordinary, Family
and Corporate members who have not yet renewed their
membership must please do so. You received a renewal
form with the April newsletter, the form is also
available on the website; so please make your
payment ASAP if you haven’t done so yet.
Thank you to all the members who have already paid!
Walks & Talks
At the AGM Niel van Wyk gave a talk on the Origin of
Rietvlei – the talk described how the influence of
changing sea levels and wind and wave action over
the years has formed our coastline, Rietvlei and the
Diep River estuary. After the talk there was some
interesting discussion. Portions of the presentation
will be placed on the website in due course.
Our next evening talk will be presentations by the
students working in Rietvlei Wetlands Reserve on the
projects they will be doing this year. This will be
on Tuesday 22 July 2008 at 19h30 for 20h00 in the
Rietvlei Education Centre. Please come and encourage
the students as well as take the time to find out
what studies are being undertaken at Rietvlei.
Sandiso Kraai who has been working in the Diep River
conservation area for over a year now, will also
give a report back on his work.
We are also organising a walk in Zoarvlei to see the
interesting work that Frank Wygold has been doing
there. This will be on Sunday 27 July, meeting at
2pm at the bottom of Wemyss Road Brooklyn, next to
the historic homestead, Klein Zoar. There is a
parking area at the end of the cul-de-sac and next
to a sports field. Wear comfy walking shoes but
there is a path most of the way around the vlei. For
queries contact Pat on 021 5573647 (a/h) or Pauline
on 083 255 2537.
Environmental Education Centre
Those of you who attended the AGM would have seen
the wall mounted projection screen and whiteboard
that we purchased and installed in the Education
Centre. To add to this Chevron has donated a data
projector to the centre – these days people
presenting courses or giving talks often use
PowerPoint presentations from laptop computers. The
data projector means that we no longer have to
scrounge around to borrow a projector when it is
required. The Friends would like to thank Phumi
Nhlapo, Public Affairs Manager at Chevron Refinery,
for arranging this donation.
We are also concerned that the centre is not being
used enough for school outings so if you know of a
school or class wanting to visit Rietvlei please
email the details to
email@example.com or phone Pat on 021
5573748 a/h. There may also be adult groups that are
interested in an outing and a presentation about
Rietvlei or wetlands, they are also welcome to
Proposed upgrading of the Bayside Canal
You are all aware of the rather bad state of the
Bayside Canal running past Bayside Centre and Pick &
Pay into the northwestern reedbed of Rietvlei. The
water quality of this canal and the possible
negative effects on Rietvlei has been a matter of
some concern for several years now.
The City of Cape Town has now appointed consultants
to investigate the upgrading of the canal to cater
for a 1 in 50 year storm event, as well as provide
adequate measures for pollution control of the storm
water runoff before it enters Rietvlei. The
engineering consultant is BKS (Pty) Ltd, who have
appointed CCA Environmental (Pty) Ltd as an
independent environmental consultant to undertake
the basic environmental assessment. The project is
basically looking at the canal south of Link Road,
but they are also considering proposals about the
storm water channels north of Link Road which may
alleviate the problems in Bayside Canal.
An open day was held in the Milnerton Library Hall
on 27 May 2008 where the project details were
presented to the public, comments had to be
submitted to the consultants before 6 June 2008.
An interesting fact established by the consultants
is that the water quality in Bayside Canal is not
all that bad, in fact analyses indicate that there
has actually been an improvement in chemical water
quality over the years. What is bad is the litter
problem, and the increase in human activity in and
around the canal is something that must be addressed
urgently. Your committee is satisfied that the
consultants are addressing the problems, we have
made some comments which mostly support the
consultants’ suggestions. We will of course be
following the whole investigation with interest and
will keep you informed of progress.
Milnerton Racecourse Conservation Area
Are you aware of this little jewel of a conservation
area right in the middle of northern Milnerton. The
conservation area in the centre of the old Milnerton
Royal Ascot Racecourse (which is now used as a
training track for horses) is one of the most
important conservation areas in the Cape Peninsula.
Only 18ha in size, it has 232 recorded plant species
of which at least 12 have Red Data status – that is
endangered and highly vulnerable. Nearly surrounded
by the Royal Ascot development, this conservation
area is divided into 2 portions – a northern portion
which has a path which is open to the public, and a
larger southern portion which is closed to the
public because of the vulnerability of the
As briefly mentioned in our previous newsletter,
about half of the southern area was burnt in a
controlled fire in April. This fynbos type needs to
be burnt every 8 to 12 years, but it appears that
there has not been a fire in the area for at least
30 years – so a burn was very much overdue. The fire
itself was very successful; it took less than an
hour to complete the burn, but caused considerable
interest in the area.
A survey at the end of last year had indicated that
there were at least 24 grysbokkies in the
conservation area – this was far too many as the
area theoretically should only be able to support 4
to 6 grysbokkies. Before and after the burn a
capturing operation was launched to remove as many
of the excess grysbokkies as possible; over several
captures they caught about 20 grysbok – these have
been relocated to other conservation areas and
several farms where farmers are conserving them.
The first day of June was a beautiful fresh sunny
day after heavy rains had cleared the air and
started to fill the reserve.. A quick trip to
Rietvlei revealed about 250 flamingoes on the
Central Pan. Two fish eagles soared overhead. A
black-shouldered kite kept watch from a dead tree.
30 pelicans snoozed in the sun on the bank between
South and North Vleis. Sacred Ibis, Blackwinged
stilts, Egyptian geese, yellow-billed duck, guinea
fowl and many others were out enjoying the sun.
Rietvlei really is good place to visit!!
New bird hide
After eighteen months of planning and organizing the
financing, a new bird hide has been erected by the
City of Cape Town on the eastern edge of South Vlei.
It can be seen across the water when you drive along
the R27 adjacent to the South Vlei. It will provide
good birding opportunities in summer when other
parts of the reserve are dry. At present it is not
accessible due to rising water levels and a
boardwalk that still needs to be built.
There have been several staffing changes in the
Western Cape Branch of WESSA. Sharon Bosma is Acting
Regional Manager for a fixed period of 3 months,
during which time a new Regional Manager will be
recruited. Steve du Toit is Head of Conservation,
and Patrick Dowling is Head of Education, Training &
Public Capacity Building.
|Thanks go to Chevron Refinery for
sponsoring envelopes for the posted newsletter.