Major bush-clearing is under way at Humansdorp in a joint effort to keep Kouga communities safe from crime.
Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said about 60 men and women from Humansdorp and St Francis Bay had started clearing alien vegetation in crime hotspots.
“The areas they are currently focusing on includes Graslaagte and the open spaces adjacent to the PJ Meyer Hospital and Matt Mellville,” he said.
“These areas are very bushy, which provides the ideal cover for criminals who have been targeting pedestrians on their way to or from work, town and schools.”
He thanked the Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB) for taking hands with the municipality to bring the bush-clearing project to fruition.
“GIB has for many years been one of the implementing agents for Working for Water, an initiative of the Department of Environmental Affairs,” he said.
“They agreed to assist us with the bush-clearing project in Humansdorp as an extension of this programme. We value their concern for the well-being of our residents and their willingness to go the extra mile to keep communities safe.”
GIB CEO, Rienette Colesky, said the Working for Water programme held many benefits for communities.
“Clearing alien vegetation helps to preserve and restore the groundwater supply, which is critical in this time of severe drought,” she said.
“It also improves the safety of people in the vicinity by reducing the risk of fires breaking out and making it more difficult for criminals to hide from their intended victims or the police.
“In addition, it provides temporary work to thousands of residents who would, otherwise, be unable to put food on their families’ tables.”
She said GIB was overseeing the implementation of 34 Working for Water projects, stretching from Matatiele to the Tsitsikamma.
Mayor Hendricks said bush-clearing was among the strategies the municipality would be pursuing to help make Kouga the safest region in South Africa.
“Partnerships such as these are essential if we are to achieve this goal,” he said.
“The municipality is compiling a public safety plan for the region and will be engaging with stakeholders from various sectors to get their input.”
He invited all stakeholders who wanted to become involved in the drawing up of the plan to contact Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor, Daniel Benson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 073 766 4816.