Call for City to weed out invasive alien plants

Acacia cyclops, or Rooikrans, is a common type of alien plant species.

The City must weed out invasive, alien plant species in Jack Muller Park and elsewhere in the northern suburbs, says a civic group.

The harmful impact of these invasive plant species in the province was discussed at a seminar run by the Friends of Jack Muller Park, at the SDA Church hall in Boston, last week.

The seminar heard that invasive species threaten indigenous species and can cause both environmental and economic harm.

Port Jackson and Rooikrans are particularly problematic in the province, according to Friends member Wimpie Els.

“Just check out the once-beautiful lake across Century City and east of the N1 where there were flamingos, pelicans etc. Now these places are all invaded by Port Jacksons. The N7 out towards Melkbosstrand, is also a lost cause,” he said. “The Blue Downs area as well as the N2 towards Strand are also affected.”

Too little was being done by the national and local government to tackle the problem, he said.

Jack Muller Park houses remnants of the critically endangered Cape Flats sand fynbos and there is a seasonal wetland near the Elsieskraal River.

The conservation area is one of 16 biodiversity-agreement sites managed by the City’s recreation and parks department, according to Zahid Badroodien, the outgoing mayoral committee member for community services and health.

“The site protects the critically endangered Cape Flats sand fynbos vegetation, of which less than 1% of this vegetation type is formally conserved,” he said.

The Jack Muller Park houses remnants of the critically endangered Cape Flats sand fynbos

“One of the biggest threats of this veld type is invasive plant species, with some sections of Jack Muller severely infested with invasive species, especially Kikuyu grass, which spreads quickly and creates a thick mat that crowds out desirable indigenous species,” said Dr Badroodien.

Recreation and parks planned to eradicate the alien species and replace them with indigenous vegetation to restore the site, he said.

Mr Els said the Friends group would continue to raise awareness about the problem.

“Our environment is paying for our slow response, not only towards the infestation but also our silence towards ineffective management,” he said.

“It’s horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Their managers do not manage but spend time to create excuses.”

The Northern News asked the City when the public could expect to see Jack Muller Park being clearing of the alien plant species, but we did not get a response by time of publication.