The City of Cape Town has received R50.4 million for the ecological restoration of local ecosystems. The municipality signed a three-year Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Natural Resource Management (NRM) programme, who will supply the funding for the project.
With the money, the City will create 1300 entry-level jobs for Capetonians to remove invasive plant species and restore local ecosystems. The Invasive Species Unit (ISU) of the City of Cape Town’s Environmental Resource Management Department will oversee the project and the employees.
City of Cape Town MMC explains the memorandum
“The ISU will receive R15 million in this financial year alone which will assist us to create 699 jobs. However, the total funding from the NRM amounts to R50,4 million over three years,” says the City’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.
“We estimate we’ll be able to employ a minimum of 1,293 people over this period. One cannot overstate the importance of this programme – firstly, for those who will benefit through job opportunities and access to training; and secondly, for the City to improve the condition of our freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems,” Nieuwoudt explains.
Job creation for women, young employment-seekers and people with disabilities
The jobs will be aligned with the Expanded Public Works Programme’s (EPWP) goals of providing more opportunities to women, young job-seekers (between the ages of 18 and 25) and people with special needs.
“Those who are employed through the EPWP get the opportunity for on-the-job training. Thus, once they leave the programme, they have new skills that will make it easier for them to find permanent employment or to earn an income with the new knowledge they’ve acquired,” says Nieuwoudt.
The ISU will oversee the removal of water-thirsty pine and eucalyptus trees from water catchment areas surrounding the Steenbras and Wemmershoek dams. These invasive trees absorb too much water and slow down the filling of the dams after rainfall. Other invasive species that pose a threat to Cape Town’s indigenous flora and fauna will be removed.
The teams will also work around the Atlantis aquifer to ultimately restore the long-term water supply for the city. While working on invasive species, the ISU teams will remove any litter and water items from the rivers, waterways and dams. A complete restoration and clean-up of local ecosystems will help Cape Town with its water woes.
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