The City of Cape Town will meet with residents and businesses from baboon-affected areas and all interested parties from mid-August 2022. The intention is to discuss a suite of more sustainable proposals, many of which will be community driven and involve other institutions, stakeholders and spheres of government.
In June 2022, SANParks, CapeNature, and the City of Cape Town agreed to work together and engage other key roleplayers to initiate a more sustainable programme for the management of the Chacma baboon population in the Cape Peninsula.
The outcome of the City’s meetings with residents, businesses, and interested and affected parties, will be presented to the joint Task Team consisting of SANParks, CapeNature, and the City, together with other key role players.
The Task Team is responsible for the transition to a more sustainable baboon programme with the intention to have this in place, or in progress, by 30 June 2023. This is when the City’s three-year contract with NCC Environmental Services, who is currently managing the Urban Baboon Programme on the City’s behalf, is coming to an end.
Given this end date, the City will meet with residents and businesses from baboon-affected areas to discuss a wide range of proposals.
The meetings will be online, and all residents, businesses, interest groups and affected parties are encouraged to attend. Meetings are scheduled for every affected community, and residents are encouraged to attend the meeting in their area, and any other meeting if they so wish.
“The City proposes that under the new programme, communities will become directly involved in devising and implementing solutions that are suitable to their unique circumstances. Our intention is to facilitate, support, and guide local solutions for local challenges.
“I encourage residents and interested parties to please attend these meetings. The more people participate in this process, the better the outcomes will be. The success of the new programme will rely on the support and active participation of affected communities and residents.” said the City’s Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Eddie Andrews.
The meetings will be hosted online, on the following dates:
- Kommetjie: Tuesday 16 August 2022 from 6pm to 7.30pm
- Scarborough: Wednesday 17 August 2022 from 6pm to 7.30pm
- Constantia/Tokai: Tuesday 23 August 2022 from 6pm to 7.30pm
- Da Gama: Wednesday 24 August 2022 from 6pm to 7.30pm
- Simon’s Town: Tuesday 30 August 2022 from 6pm to 7.30pm
Residents and interested parties are requested to RSVP by Friday 12 August 2022, by sending an email to [email protected] and indicating which meeting(s) they will attend. A link to the meetings will be sent to all who have confirmed their attendance.
The City’s initial proposals include the following, and may be expanded following the outcome of the upcoming engagements:
- Work with communities in finding sustainable solutions suitable to each community’s unique circumstances and needs
- The installation of strategic and virtual fences where the environment allows, with permission from SANParks and residents’ support
- Establishing Special Rating Areas (SRAs) in baboon-affected suburbs where the special rates can fund solutions to keep baboons out of the urban area
- An overlay zone as part of the City’s Development Management Scheme, imposing conditions on new developments in areas close to baboons’ natural habitat
- Improved law-enforcement of the City’s by-laws, in particular, the Integrated Waste Management and Animal Keeping By-laws
- A grant-in-aid for a welfare organisation to respond to injured wild animals and wild animals in distress across the whole metro, including baboons
- Involving all relevant City departments to improve waste management, electricity installations (so that baboons are not electrocuted), road signage warnings, and so forth to ensure City operations are baboon-friendly
- Assisting communities with education on baboon proofing and awareness
- To work with SANParks and CapeNature on a Memorandum of Understanding to govern baboon management in the Cape Peninsula
- To assist the joint Task Team consisting of representatives from SANParks, CapeNature, together with other key roleplayers, and the City with the development of a workplace and participative programme for the management of a sustainable population of baboons on the Cape Peninsula
“The City is committed to working with communities, and all spheres of government who have a role to play in this space, and responsibilities to fulfil. We rely on our residents to support us, and to also guide us on how they see the programme evolve post 30 June 2023.
“The comments and proposals we receive during our meetings will be presented to the joint Task Team who is responsible for the transition to a more sustainable programme for the management of the Chacma baboon population in the Cape Peninsula. We are looking forward to these engagements and again, I call on all who are affected and involved in this space to please participate,” said Alderman Andrews.
Management and accountability are long overdue
This meeting comes at a time when the City has faced strong criticism for not being able to manage the Constantia 2 troop which are said to have been abandoned for the past two years, as reported by IOL.
Conservation lobby groups and activists said rangers for the troop were withdrawn in April and on enquiring, the City stated that this was a contingency plan and that there was no more funding, even though a 2019 Baboon Management tender document specified that Constantia 2 was one of the troops which needed to be managed.
As a result, the management of the baboons has been left to members of the local community who have stepped in unofficially to assist; however, this has proven to be a difficult task since volunteers lack adequate resources and support.
Activists Debby Zuanni and Jenni Trethowan from Baboon Matters both criticised the City’s abandonment of this particular troop.
“How can you leave a troop without rangers and leave the management of traffic to a handful of women who are concerned about the baboons?
“The state of the baboons in this troop is pitiful. It is obvious they have been shot, as there are visible bullet holes in their faces by landowners who find the baboons inconvenient,” Zuanni said.
Trethowan also said it was appalling that management of traffic was left to a handful of women who gave up hours of their time in attempts to warn motorists of baboons along the sections of Rhodes Drive and Southern Cross Road.