On 29 March 2012 a fire break (tracer) was scoffeled from the stream behind the Foodzone up to the school and another one was done from the R71, where the fruit sellers used to be, towards the school. In the night of 30 March we had 40 mm of rain on to the exposed soil.
They had damaged the section of the grassland with the highest density of protected plants. It is estimated that a total of 350 to 400 Scilla natalensis bulbs as well as a fair number of the other protected plants such as Aloe lettyae and Aloe boylei have been damaged. The workers were stopped it was agreed that they re-plant the damaged plants in an effort to rescue them.
Scoffeling a tracer contravenes the Environmental Management Plan for Haenertsburg's Afromontane Grassland (2005). Regards fire protection, the preparation of tracers is to be limited to mowing, slashing or applying a herbicide.
We acknowledge that annual fires starting on the western side of the road camp put the village at risk, and methods to minimise that risk need to be discussed. A fire break along the edge of the village through the scrub could to be considered.
On 24th March 2012 Lepelle Northern Water destroyed a large section of critically endangered grassland on the Haenertsburg Townlands in the process of digging a trench to install an anode for a water pipe line. The disturbed area is approximately 200m by 6m. GPS 23S57’14.00 29E56’45.00. Although Lepelle has a 5m servitude over the pipeline most of the digging was well beyond the servitude.
The digging started on Monday 19th March and was stopped after intervention from a FrOHG member. Little damage had been done at this point – only 10m of trench. LEDET was contacted and a meeting to access the situation was arranged. However in the early hours of Saturday morning 24th March Lepelle resumed operations & did most of the damage.
The work that was done required an EIA. This requirement has been more clearly focused by the Dec2011 Government Gazetting of the area as Critically Endangered in terms of the Biodiversity Act. Unfortunately no EIA was conducted.
FOUR Red data species were identified in the immediate area of the digging:
The following protected (No. 7 of 2003 Limpopo Environmental Management Act) plants occurred where the trench was dug:
o Aloe lettyae
o Brachystelma oianthum
o Ceropegia meyeri
o Eulophia parvilabris
The Lepelle environmental officer said she would engage specialists to assess the damage and to document a rehabilitation plan. FroHG recommended she make use of local specialists who have an intimate knowledge of the area.