Pine tree felling underway in lower Tokai forest

CapeTalk listeners have been calling and emailing The John Maytham show the past few days complaining that the pine trees in the lower Tokai forest are being cut down, denuding the area of any trees and shade. These listeners are adamant that the agreed management framework of the table Mountain national park is being ignored.

Gavin Bell, Area Manager for SanParks, joins John Maytham on the line, and he confirmed that MTO Forestry have commenced felling.

MTO is a commercial plantation and they purchased those pines from the Department of Forestry, and they are harvesting those plantations in terms of the conditions or the lease.

Gavin Bell, Area Manager SanParks

SanParks are assigned the lease and so work together with MTO Forestry on the felling schedule plans.

They have a schedule for clearing, and the fires accelerated clearing. They started in the upper Tokai areas...they are ahead of schedule and are now moving into the rest of Tokai and Cecelia forest to complete their harvesting schedule.

Gavin Bell, Area Manager SanParks

John Maytham quoted from emails where listeners say that TMO Forestry, when asked, said they are felling according to the TMNP schedule.

But Bell says it is according to schedule contracts within the lease. he also reminded listeners of an interview he did in May on CapeTalk, where he said felling may start within 6 - 12 months. But because the company is ahead of schedule this has been brought forward by a few months.

He cites operational challenges at MTO Forestry as part of the reason for accelerated clearing.

He disagrees that TMNP is driving this as a deliberate attempt to move away from commitments to the community and says there was proper engagement.

Pines have always been coming down there for years, and years and years. For over one hundred years the pines have been sold....and it is public knowledge.

Gavin Bell, Area Manager SanParks

He insists that the TMNP management framework has been no different this year to any other year. But added, it is up for reveiw next year.

With regard to lack of shade in the areas, Bell says there are alternatives along the green belt, and numerous other shaded parks in the area.

In addition, SanParks says it intends to make the Arboretum safer and also plans to erect shade structures and viewing platforms.

Listen to the full conversation below:

Listeners call in to respond to Sanparks on Tokai tree felling:

Read More
John Maytham's book reviews: stalkers, billionaires and spies

John Maytham's book reviews: stalkers, billionaires and spies

Three books...a frenzied killing...a secret controlled death facility...and the biography of master spy writer John le Carré.

2016 saw the shocking rape and murders of young women in Cape Town

2016 saw the shocking rape and murders of young women in Cape Town

Monique Mortlock covered the horrific rape and murder of Sinoxolo Mafevuka in Khayelitsha and killing of Philippi baby Inganathi.

Zim allows citizens to use rand currency through cellphone service

Zim allows citizens to use rand currency through cellphone service

Zimbabwe adopts Econet rand wallet facility to help country's cash woes.

Former MPs Willie Hofmeyer, Tony Leon recall Constitution signing 20 years on

Former MPs Willie Hofmeyer, Tony Leon recall Constitution signing 20 years on

In December 1996 the SA Constitution was signed into being and has been acclaimed as one of most progressive in the world.

[Watch] Some of the funniest moments in Parliament from 2016

[Watch] Some of the funniest moments in Parliament from 2016

Check out some of the best, worst and funniest moments in South Africa's Parliament, as our MPs clashed this year.

SANParks explains the felling of the Tokai plantation

SANParks explains the felling of the Tokai plantation

The felling of trees in parts of what is known as Tokai Forest has left some Capetonians in a tizz. SANParks answers questions.