Letter to Daily Dispatch November 2010

ABOUT a month ago, R Calmeyer-Leach of Kenton-On-Sea wrote to the Dispatch, saying: “I wrote a couple of months ago to complain about the shocking state of the Buffalo Pass, which was nothing less than a garbage dump. Imagine my pleasant surprise on returning to East London on the weekend to find the pass is in the process of being cleaned up, leaving us to enjoy this stretch of wonderful coastal forest. Well done, Buffalo City Municipality.”

The story starts some months back when I, a retired Cove Rock resident, met Xolani Nikelo, the manager of East London Coast Nature Reserves, working for Eastern Cape Park and Tourism Agency. We agreed to join forces and initiate a programme to restore Buffalo Pass/Umtiza to its former glory. With solid support from Mr Mzazi, regional manager of Central Region ECPTA, we started enlisting the help of stakeholders.

Mawonga Nyikisa and Raymond Fritz of BCM Solid Waste enthusiastically joined the team and, as a result of their efforts, most of the building rubble was removed.

The vision of what a restored Buffalo Pass can mean ecologically to our city is clear but the process of achieving this will be long and detailed, and involve many stakeholders. Most of the rubble may have been removed but the pass remains full of litter; poaching continues; invasive alien plants are a huge problem; harvesting of precious forest by local communities within Umtiza continues; security is an issue; traffic through the pass increasingly threatens what wildlife remains – the list goes on.

To move forward with the campaign it has been decided to form a Wessa “Friends of Buffalo Pass” group. Wessa friends groups are volunteer groups that encourage public participation in caring for the earth and which are affiliated to the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa). Our hope is that this action will broaden support for activities that need to happen to address the issues in Buffalo Pass.

Xolani and I maintain that the future of Buffalo Pass is in all our hands – we just cannot afford to sit back and do nothing.

It would be unfair to future generations to allow the valley and its ecological treasures to disappear.

If you want to become a founder member of “Friends of Buffalo Pass”, please contact me on 043 736 8980, 011 787 2953 or 083 602 0296, or e-mail me at werner@illgner.net     Werner Illgner, Cove Rock

Make a Free Website with Yola.