Thursday, 27 July 2017

And Down Goes Another Tree

Even while I write this blog post, down goes another tree! A few weeks ago, I wrote about the raw sewerage flowing into the Botanical Gardens from this very spot. Thankfully the councilors, conservationists, and concerned citizens, from City of Joburg, Mogale City, ARMOUR, Proteadal Conservation, and the Roodekrans Neighbourhood Watch, all jumped and as the result, the flow of pollution into the Bot Gardens has stopped. And now this.

In Cape Town they call them the Bergies, here in the upper reaches above the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, I have heard them been called the Mountain men by the police or the Church people by the locals. Whatever you call them, they live in the cracks and crannies of the ridges running between Roodepoort and Mogale City.

There are quite a few of them, some permanent, some only come over the weekends, they mostly men that live like hermits in either make shift shelters or holes dug in the sides of cliffs. The worst part is that it looked like a swarm of locusts came through, cutting down the indigenous trees, digging up medicinal plants, and leaving behind them a wake of destruction and not to mention litter.

When we confront these itinerants, or whatever you call them, they say that they are here for religious purposes, as they are the ZCC or the Zion Christian Church, but what religion allows to their devotees to wantonly destroy the nature around them, please pray tell.

More than one occasion has evidence of petty crime such as house breaking been found in the veldt overlooking the kloof and it is easy to put these two groups together as one and the same or are there rouge elements posing as ZCC? Last week a huge veldt fire raced up the kloof towards the houses, most likely from an un-attended camp fire. Luckily no properties were destroyed although my home came close and if it wasn’t for my neighbours and the Roodekrans Neighbourhood Watch it would have been a different story.

Today 2 itinerants were seen carrying freshly cut protea tree branches down towards the kloof. The problem is that these trees are not easily replaced. When are they going to stop? When there are no more trees left to support them?

My neighbour decided to confront them and I had to race after him with my camera in case he got into trouble. By the time I got half way down I heard his voice booming up the sides of the kloof as he demanded to know why they were cutting down the trees. The itinerants simply shrug their shoulders as if they did nothing wrong.

When will the authorities do something? Will the leadership of the ZCC do something? I can only guess NOTHING will be done. And down goes another tree.

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