File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

SANParks clarifies Tokai, Cecilia forest comment period after registration outcry

By Nicola Daniels Time of article published May 18, 2021

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Cape Town – SANParks has clarified members of the public have until November to comment on the future of the Tokai and Cecilia forest areas.

This was after SANParks was slammed by community-focused environmental NPO Parkscape for appearing to provide five days – from late Friday afternoon until Wednesday – to register to participate in discussions, advising that the review process of the Tokai-Cecilia Management Framework had started.

“We are grateful that the process is finally getting under way after years of being blown off by SANParks,” Parkscape said.

The intended first review of the framework was delayed in 2015 by the Peninsula fires, the 2016 to mid-2018 litigation process and the subsequent Covid-19 pandemic made direct public engagements in this format not possible, SANParks explained.

Parkscape said the framework was negotiated in 2007 between stakeholders and SANParks after the public first learnt of the intended clear-felling of the plantations of Tokai and Cecilia areas.

The NPO said many people remained unaware that the plantations were due to be harvested by 2025 and that while Parkscape did not seek the long-term retention of pine plantations, they were looking for a phased solution in Lower Tokai, which would result in permanent, safe and shaded recreational space using tall-canopied indigenous tree species.

SANParks yesterday clarified that the process was open until November.

“The five days being referred to has reference to the registration process for a stakeholder engagement meeting. Registration is required for in-person attendance because of Covid regulations.

’’All who register for the meeting will automatically be registered as stakeholders for future communications and meetings. To register as a stakeholder – the call remains open as long as the review process in under way to completion in November 2021.

“All stakeholders previously identified received personal emails inviting them to register, which is as simple as clicking a button to indicate their interest,” SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli said.

The facilitation process aimed to find realistic and viable options and scenarios for the future of the Tokai and Cecilia areas as vital management sections of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), Thakhuli added.

“We encourage everyone to take an interest in the management of the Tokai Cecilia areas and become part of setting the context in managing these areas for the next 20 years. Tokai is a remarkable place as it is home to the largest remaining patch of critically endangered Cape Flats sand fynbos,” Thakuli said.

Interested parties can email [email protected] or visit https://www.sanparks.org/ for more information

The review process of the Tokai-Cecilia Management Framework has begun. Picture: Nicky Schmidt, Parkscape.

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