Neglect of street trees by the City of Ekurhuleni pose a grave danger
Neglect of street trees by the City of Ekurhuleni pose a grave danger – Trees are immensely important in our lives. They are able to change and improve the character of not only a single street, but of an entire town too. Trees should also be seen as part of any town or cities’ financial health and investment.
Street trees play a dominant physical and aesthetic role. They cool the streets and the city and improve air quality. Evergreen trees can provide screening, privacy, enclosures, and windbreaks for energy conservation. This is even more evident when the trees are well looked after, maintained and in good health.
Many of our street trees, however, are a ticking time bomb because of the lack of maintenance. As a direct consequence of global warming, weather patterns are drastically changing and summers and rainy seasons are now associated with high winds and violent thunderstorms. With each severe thunderstorm, tall and overgrown trees are uprooting and falling, resulting in the constant danger and threat to people’s lives and properties.
These old trees are not only a threat to the life and limb of the citizens of Ekurhuleni, but to our infrastructure too. Tall, old trees with overgrown and aggressive root systems are destroying electricity cables, water pipes, roads and paved areas, resulting in millions of Rands being spent to repair the damaged infrastructure. Furthermore, millions in financial losses are incurred as a result of traffic blockages and congestion in our arterial roads, as a result of fallen or uprooted trees.
Whilst thunderstorms are an act of nature, the CoE, led by the ANC, has not been proactive in addressing the problem of falling street trees. With the onset of yet another rainy season, it is clear that the CoE has not learnt any lessons from last year’s thunderstorms; where property worth millions of Rands was destroyed as a result of falling trees.
The CoE clearly has its priorities wrong as it seemingly does not care about the safety of its citizens in suburbs and townships. This also points to years of total neglect of not only the health of our street trees, but our infrastructure in general. Many of our street trees have reached the end of their life cycles and are either in urgent need of pruning or cutting down completely and being replaced.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Ekurhuleni therefore calls upon the City’s management, especially the MMC of Environmental and Waste Management Services, Cllr. Ndosi Shongwe, to employ sufficient Arborists and Horticulturists as a matter of priority and urgency to complete an assessment of the health of the City’s street trees. This exercise will ensure that potential hazards are properly dealt with before they damage the City and cause harm to the residents of Ekurhuleni.
Media Statement By Cllr Lucky Mokhoana