uMhlathuze, South Africa

Photo by the National Business Initiative

Sustainability and Resilience

What efforts have been made to reduce the carbon footprint of the initiative?
  • The alien plant clearing project is very site-specific. Before any project can be undertaken, the target site is clearly mapped out in a treatment area map.
  • All vehicles used for each project are roadworthy and in good condition.
  • The correct clearing techniques or AIP control methods are applied for each project, depending on the kind of vegetation.
  • The fuel used in the project vehicles and in some of the equipment/tools such as chainsaws, is correctly handled and stored by applying the correct re-fuelling techniques to avoid spillages.  For example, the use of a flexible fuel funnel.
  • The correct/proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is supplied to each person working on site, depending on the type location being worked; e.g. Gumboots for river projects.
  • With projects that require the use of generators, the generators are placed on a drip tray in case of a spill/leak of fuel.
  • Herbicides are stored in a safe and suitable location, and once the container is emptied/used up it is properly disposed of as prescribed on each label.
How have the anticipated impacts of climate change been considered?

One of the objectives of the uWaSP is to implement short and medium-term measures to improve water security for industry, agriculture, and communities (NatuReS, 2020).  UWaSP has partnered with the ‘Siyazisiza Trust’ for offering support on farming water-use efficiency and implementing means to ensure climate change resilience.  The Siyazisiza Trust works with community farmers and agricultural enterprises in the rural areas in the Provinces of Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal.  The Trust supports the small-scale farmers by offering them with such support as start-up capital, offering field-based training and mentoring, linking the farmers to the markets, and in climate change resilience building (Siyazisiza Trust, 2022).

Due to the National drought that occurred in 2015, the GIZ and the Siyazisiza Trust developed the Local G.A.P as a means to assist small-scale farmers to operate in ways that will improve their water management and continue to produce even during drought seasons.  A total of 50 small-scale farmers from the uMhlathuze catchment have been trained on best practice and building on climate resilience.  The Local G.A.P best practices has taught theses farmers to find best ways to always have access to water, even during a drought due to the impacts of climate change, by storing rainwater and using it only when there is a drought. With the shared knowledge that these farmers received from the training they were able to share it with other local farmers in their respective areas in order for them to also do the same (Siyazisiza Trust, 2022).

What processes does the initiative include for it to be considerate in its use of soils and other natural resources?

The correct techniques are applied for each project, depending on the kind of vegetation on site. Some control methods include:

  • Mechanical control: physical destruction or total removal of plants.
  • Chemical control: the use of various Herbicides.
  • Cultural control: which includes re-vegetating the bare site, irrigating or fertilizing to encourage the establishment of a healthy ground.
  • Biological control/bio-control: introducing ‘biological control agents’ such as insects, and micro-organisms such as fungi or bacteria to attack parts of the invasive plants that would make them sterile and fail to grow.