The Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi, celebrated World Oceans Day in Port St. Johns, Eastern Cape on Monday 10 June 2013. At the celebrations, she launched the National Estuarine Management Protocol which aims to protect and preserve the environmental integrity of South Africa’s estuarine ecosystems.
“Estuaries form a key connection between life in the ocean and life on land. This is the reason we have decided to launch the National Estuarine Management Protocol on World Oceans Day,” explained the Deputy Minister. The protocol was developed in line with the requirements in the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Amendment Bill and gives guidelines on how estuaries should be managed in a co-ordinated and efficient manner through the development of individual estuarine management plans.
Invasive plant clearing
The Deputy Minister also highlighted the problems of invasive plants in the Port St. Johns area. Port St. Johns falls in a high rainfall area, thus making it conducive for many weeds to thrive. Various types of invasives, ranging from bugweed (Solanum mauritianum), lantana (Lantana camara), inkberry (Cestrum laevigatum), triffid weed (Chromolaena odorata), Barbados gooseberry (Pereskia aculeata) and morning glory (Ipomea) are established in the area. As part of her department’s commitment to job creation, Port St. Johns was allocated a budget of R2,07 million and employment will be divided into three main categories: nurseries, forest restoration and invasive alien vegetation clearing. The invasive species clearing is expected to employ 45 people.
Working for the Coast
The Deputy Minister also highlighted that R12 million has been allocated for Working for the Coast projects and will be implemented from July in three municipalities, namely King Sabatha Dalindyebo, Nyandeni and Port St. Johns. This project will cover the upgrading of ablution facilities, cleaning of beaches, development of coastal management programmes and the establishment of lifeguard stands and boardwalks.
During her speech, the Deputy Minister also highlighted her concern over the spate of fatal shark attacks at Port St. Johns, stating that it is now the world’s number one fatal shark attack spot, followed by Western Australia and Fish Hoek. She said her department was working with scientists to find solutions to the problem and to implement measures to make the beach safer for tourists and residents.
source: Invasive Species SA