Add crime and potential urban decay to the list of evils promoted by Port Jackson, the invasive Australian tree considered to be one of the most problematic alien pest plants in the Western Cape.
Blamed for blocking watercourses and exacerbating the drought crisis in the Cape, the Port Jackson has added more mischief to its portfolio of offences and is creating further problems for the MMID.
Imported originally for dune stabilisation on the Cape Flats, Port Jackson trees have grown and propagated prolifically in our environment and have been a pest for decades. Now, on private open land between the N7 and large industrial constructions, the MMID has just had to undertake the second phase in its mission to eradicate the plants as far as possible.
Aside from being a fire hazard, the overgrowth had created a secret haven for criminals and a place for a number of homeless people to live undetected with no sanitary facilities, in the dense foliage covering an area of 2,5 km by a maximum of 150m.
Having declared war on the Port Jackson, the MMID will continue to do clean-ups four to six times a year to limit the height of the trees and also apply an approved herbicide to prevent re-growth of the cut-off stumps.
Using saws and machetes, teams of five to eight local men, with a supervisor, are employed for the job, depending on the density of the growth. They are contracted for a week at a time to clear a length of about 200 metres. The area cleared to date is about 150m x 400m.
The MMID hopes to show major results by the end of the year.