It remains to be understood why some trees have to be cut down, says the writer. Picture: David Ritchie/ African News Agency (ANA)
It is ironic that on September 7, the front page of the Cape Argus promoted a wonderful tree-planting initiative in Khayelitsha, while on the letters page somebody called Berta van Rooyen rejoiced at the wanton and criminal destruction of magnificent mature trees in Tokai.

The Khayelitsha article mentioned that our indigenous Yellowwood trees have been designated the Tree of the Year; yet the trees deliberately mutilated in Tokai included Yellowwoods.

The letter serves a useful purpose. It reveals to your readers the savagery and intolerance with which the fynbos fascists reject the public’s desire to enjoy the shade and beauty of trees in Table Mountain National Park, and insist that the shaded areas be clear-felled in order to restore the mountain to some imagined state of “purity” that existed 400 years ago.

All over the world environmentally conscious organisations, right up to the UN, are promoting the planting of trees. Here, a few fanatics who have hijacked the Table Mountain policy, are obsessively destroying everything that is not fynbos.

Yellowwoods are, of course, indigenous to SA. So you may wonder why the fanatics cut them down? The answer is that they are not indigenous to Cape Town, but come from a few hundred kilometres away.

When someone refers to “infestations of Paperbark, Yellowwoods, Oak and Camphor”, as if they are weeds to be ripped out, then you know you are in the presence of lunacy.

Over 90% of Table Mountain National Park is already given over to the preservation of fynbos, including huge areas which are closed to the public in order to protect the fynbos. The areas around Tokai and Cecilia comprise less than 1% of the park, yet even this tiny area is denied to those who have for generations enjoyed shaded forests with their kids and families.

One of the chief architects of this Fynbos Uber Alles dictatorship once wrote on a public website, “I am sure that 1% of people supporting the removal of plantations is true”. They know full well that the vast majority of the users of Table Mountain want shade trees and do not share their obsession with removing all “alien” plants, including magnificent trees. But of course they have huge contempt for the public who do not have their refined level of botanical knowledge.

The public should rejoice that through the actions of a small NGO, the courts have condemned the tree-felling policy of Table Mountain National Park, and ordered them to hold a public participation process.

The previous such process many years ago was a farce, devoid of proper public meetings, and stage managed to give the result that the fynbos fanatics wanted. We need to make sure that in any future public consultation, the voices of the majority of ordinary people who want shade trees in this 1% of the park, are heard.

* Jonathan Schire, Kenilworth.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus