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SANParks expands public participation process for Tokai Cecilia Implementation Plan

Tokai Forest is a beautiful natural forest in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Tokai Forest is a beautiful natural forest in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 25, 2022

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Cape Town - The numerous concerns numerous concerns from stakeholders and environmental groups about SANParks’ draft Tokai Cecilia Implementation Plan (TCMIP) for the Tokai Cecilia Management Framework (TCMF) review process were heard after SANParks announced it would consider its current draft as “interim” for public comment.

When SANParks announced that the draft plan was open for public comment on April 12 after months of consultation and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, the stakeholders and concerned groups took issue with components of the draft – including its notice to phase out remaining plantations in Tokai Forest and Cecilia by 2024.

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Now SANParks managing executives, Property Mokoena and Luthando Dziba have informed stakeholders that the public participation process would go through another round of drafting and commenting in their efforts to maintain the positive momentum of the review process.

“The decision for the public participation process to go through another round of drafting and commenting is to ensure that stakeholder concerns and inputs are fully appreciated and considered towards the final Tokai Cecilia Implementation Plan,” Mokoena and Dziba said.

Parkscape founder Nicky Schmidt said: “The Draft Plan as it currently exists has reduced hundreds of hours of stakeholders’ work, and rich and nuanced proposals, to mere one-line items to which a double tick, single tick and dash methodology has been applied.

“It barely begins to do justice to stakeholders’ input, more so given some proposals (which represent the voices of thousands of people) have been rejected out of hand with no legally valid or viable explanation.”

Schmidt said the Health and Well-being group took specific issue with the nature of the Draft Plan noting the complete disconnect from the Plan’s presentation by SANParks’ managing executive and the detail of the annexure.

“We also noted that many of the proposals and comments from the first phase of the process were simply not included, and we deemed the content of the annexure and draft plan to be a betrayal of trust given the work we were encouraged to do by SANParks,” Schmidt said.

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Previous TMNP Forum chair Stephen Floyd said volunteer participants from Cape Town contributed about 1 500 man-hours, hence they had an expectation of a good park plan and an improved park delivery.

“The draft plan in its current form highlights the flawed nature of the process. A better job needs to be done. We are pleased that SANParks has recognised this and will allow for a further draft plan and commenting period,” Schmidt said.

SANParks reminded stakeholders and concerned groups that they have until May 31 to submit comments on the draft to [email protected], thereafter the Revised Implementation Plan and Comments/Response would be published by June 30 for further public comment until July 31.

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