Key environmental “RANT” issues

The Palmiet River Rehabilitation Project (PRRP) brought role-players together; and stakeholders produced the PRRP Action Plan, to deliver meaningful integrated interventions, that address the critical issues; and to undo the dire consequences of past and present human development practices.

The Palmiet River Watch has been party to developing and the adoption of the PRCRP Action Plan; and helps shape and promote key projects to address critical issues quickly.

On 21 January 2016, the Palmiet River Watch (PRW) presented a “RANT” list of environmental infractions*, at the Palmiet River Rehabilitation Project (PRRP) stakeholders meeting; and they were to be included as Mission Critical, in the PRRP Action Plan.

The key causes of environmental degradation identified and tabled by the Palmiet River Watch on 21 January 2016 include, but not limited to: Industrial pollution; Fresh water pipe bursts; Sewage pollution; River bed scouring and banks collapsing; Waste disposal; Alien Invasive species; Land fragmentation and land misuse; and the Poor application of Legislation and Bylaws.

 The Conservancy (Our Mission) is intent upon ensuring  that there is continual, meaningful, significant, sustainable and measurable improvement of Water quality and Stream health, as well as reductions of Environmental degradation, violations and infractions*: throughout the Palmiet River Valley.

*Environmental violations and infractions* This term refers to contraventions of (serious) National legislation, and (less serious) Municipal By-laws, respectively.

Palmiet River Rehabilitation Project

Comment from Lee D’Eathe ~ Palmiet River Watch.

The long awaited Community Of Innovators (COI) meeting scheduled for 7 March was cancelled at short notice and rescheduled for 4 April 2018.

The minutes of the Community Of Innovators (COI) meeting dated 4 April were distributed on 9 April 2018.

A revised Palmiet River Rehabilitation Action Plan was forwarded to the COI members on 13 April 2018.

Of concern is progressively worse and unbalanced attendance; and,

A request was made for the Mission Critical items on the Palmiet River Rehabilitation Action Plan to be reinstated (they can not be considered less important and downgraded because they are not currently earmarked to be addressed).

PRW Partnerships – UEIP & PRRP

I have contributed significantly to Palmiet Rehabilitation Project (PRRP) and the Action Plan on behalf of the Palmiet River Valley community. – Lee D’Eathe ~ Palmiet River Watch.


The Palmiet Rehabilitation Project (PRRP) is a shared-governance climate change adaptation-oriented project coordinated by the Climate Adaptation Branch (CAB) of eThekwini Municipality. The project was initiated as a proof of concept project for the uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership (UEIP).

It primarily focuses on conservation, rehabilitation & restoration of natural systems within the Palmiet Catchment to improve community resilience. A Community of Innovation (CoI), which forms a working group of core actors in the project has been established to oversee implementation of an action plan, which was developed by the broader group of project stakeholders. Within the action plan, there is a set of prioritised action items, which are split into three categories for project implementation: Governance; Bio-physical and Social.

The Climate Adaptation Branch has committed to collating activities within the project to track progress in implementing the Action Plan, and to provide a quarterly update to stakeholders.


The uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership (UEIP) is partnership of a diverse group of organisations from government, business, academia and civil society committed to finding ways of better integrating ecological infrastructure solutions into water resource management through collective participation and coordination of activities in the greater uMngeni River catchment.

Organisations join the UEIP by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) as the centre for coordination of the partnership. The primary focus of the UEIP is on exploring the role ecological i9nfrastructure can play in improving water security in the catchment. In order to streamline its governance and institutional structures the UEIP developed a Strategy that outlines its defined objectives and describes what the partnership intends to achieve through collaboration of partners and coordination of activities in the catchment.

Committee chairpersons Sean O’Donoghue and John Dini are stepping down as Co-chairpersons of the UEIP and led the process of electing a new Co-chairperson for the Coordination Committee. New Co-chairpersons of the Research Sub-Committee were also elected parallel to this process. Lehlohonolo Joe Phadima (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) and Marilyn Govender (South African Sugar Association) were elected as Co-chairpersons of the UEIP Coordination Committee; while Vaughan Koopman (WWF SA) and Sabine Stuart-Hill (University of KwaZulu-Natal) were elected as Co-chairpersons of the UEIP Research Sub-Committee.


Palmiet River Rehabilitation Project

Sean O’Donoghue gave an update on the project.

The snake monitoring is going well. The community is identifying snakes and reporting them for removal, and they are being removed. The project team wants to use the Enviro Champs approach to address sewer line challenges. On this project, some funding will go to the Enviro Champs. There has been no success regarding changing behaviours of industry leaders in terms of regulating themselves and reducing illegal effluent discharges.

Sean O’Donoghue thanked everyone for participating in the meeting. The next meeting will be held on 15 November 2017.
 We await minutes of meeting 15 No9vember 2018 (April 2018).

From: Nontutuzelo Gola <>      Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 10:07 AM     </>

<>To: Lee D’Eathe <>     Subject: RE: Minutes: UEIP Coordination Committee Meeting      </></>

<><>Dear Lee      We are in the process of finalising the minutes of the meeting. We will distribute to all the partners when finalised. We apologise for the delay in that, this has       been overtaken by other things.      Regards     Pearl      From: Lee D’Eathe []      Sent: 01 April 2018 03:57 PM     To: Nontutuzelo Gola     Subject: Minutes: UEIP Coordination Committee Meeting     Importance: High      Dear Pearl      Please forward the record of this meeting…  which I attended but did not receive correspondence after that.      Regards Lee      Lee D’Eathe ~ The Palmiet River Watch     Business Unusual     “Doing the impossible every day”     Cell:      0834615964     Phone: 0312623753     Email:  </></>

Critical Environmental Degradation Issues

The critical environmental degradation issues include: Poor river-health, poor water quality, ongoing sewage and trade effluent pollution, accelerated storm-water runoff, plastic and other forms of solid waste disposal, alien invasive overgrowth, loss of biodiversity, disruption of migration and habitat loss.

Endemic plants and creatures have gradually disappeared…  ravaged by concentrated and accelerated storm-water runoff (causing erosion, scouring, habitat loss and down-stream siltation); along with industrial and sewage waste (8 to 9 incidents per month) has rendered the Palmiet River almost barren.  Even the Palmiet Plant, after which the river was named, has disappeared (Prionium serratum).

The Key Challenge

Funding and resources are typically focused (wasted) on the Symptoms, while the root causes are not being addressed. While flooding, water shortages and drought have helped draw long overdue attention to rivers throughout South Africa, the rivers display symptoms of past and current activities throughout the rainfall catchment.

In alignment with the Umgani Ecological Infrastructure Partnership (UEIP) and the pragmatic intention of Palmiet River Rehabilitation Projects (PRRP) Lee proposed two areas which were selected to demonstrate addressing root causes throughout the Palmiet River valley, and not just along the river; as it is wasteful and unsustainable to use resources (funds and ‘man-power’) along a river without addressing the root-causes, throughout the rainfall catchment, from: “development”, land-misuse, storm-water runoff, pollution and the spread of invasive alien vegetation, coming from every property and incoming stream, culvert and drain.

Project One: The New Germany Nature Reserve/ Sunnybrae Park/ Kingfisher Stream sub-catchment; and Project Two: the Wyebank Waste Disposal site and surrounds.

These two projects stretch Citizen Science Riparian Health Assessments, to identify and address all the root causes of the environmental impacts within the sub-catchment displayed as symptoms along streams and rivers; and the maintenance and construction of natural and artificial ecological infrastructure.

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