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                         MONDAY 19th November 2007



        Name         Abbr.               E-mail           Contact Numbers          Organisation
Carmen Anderson     CA       carmena@kaymac.co.za         0845116989        DUCT
Johan Vermeulen     JV       vermeulj@kzn.wildlife.com    031-5731054       KZN Wildlife
Gail Reid           GR       gail@projecon.co.za          0844996494        Crusaders Canoe Club
T Mzimela           TM       mzimelat@dwaf.gov.za         0828057504        DWAF
Steve Cohen         SC       stevecohen@eject.co.za       083 320 4200      DUCT

B. Cullis           BC       cullisb@dwaf.gov.za          031-3362772       DWAF
Brian Fowles        BF       fowles@telkmsa.net           0828509384        Consultant/ DUCT
Margaret Burger     MB       margaret@pftb.co.za          083 630 5380      Umgeni Estuary Conservancy
David Still         DS       dave@pid.co.za               082 443 2738      DUCT
P Jairam            PJ       jairamp@dwaf.gov.za          0828052626        DWAF
Sunil Ramkisoon     SR       sanil@dmws.durgan.gov.za     0832324928        Ethekwini Water Sanitation
Pat Reddy           PR       reddyp@dwaf.gov.za           0828089927        DWAF
Gary Cullen         GC       info@gdcf.org.za             0826595204        GDCF
B Fereday           BF                                    0768713333        U.E.C.

Kevin Trodd, Steve Butler, Derek Mathews, Peter Rowan, Gravelet Blondin, Julia
Glenday, Jean Lindsay, Faizal Bodham, Chris Fennemore
Welcome and Introductions
The Chairperson, Steve Cohen, welcomed all in attendance to the first official meeting of
the Lower Mgeni Catchment Management Forum (LMCMF).

                                 ITEM                                   RESPONSIBLE
Acceptance of minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed and accepted
as a fair reflection of proceedings.

Matters Arising
a) Sand winning: The next inter-governmental Steering committee
meeting scheduled in January.           Pat Reddy commented that Pat Reddy
although it seems like a time consuming process, matters are
being taken very seriously. They will have a high-level official from
DM&E present at the January meeting.
b) Illegal land reclamation at Siripat Road: DM&E and DWAF are in
discussion and are looking at historical information and previous
charges.     The transgressors have been issued an official DUCT
instruction to stop.      DUCT will communicate with paddlers
regarding the problems there, prior to the Chemspec Fifty Miler
c) Water Quality: There was another spill due to pump station
failure. DUCT were contacted timeously and were able to warn
paddlers of the flow of raw sewerage in the water. There was LMCMF
discussion on the potential impacts of Eskom load shedding on
pump stations and water quality. SC enquired whether there were
any back-up generators for theses stations. SR replied in the
negative. It was agreed that there may have to lobbying in the
future for the installation of generators.
d) Bad smell at Springfield/Willowfield Drive culverts:    The bad
smell was investigated. Report back will be made under item 7.
e) Improved flow releases from Inanda Dam: James Perkins, in
charge of DWAF water resources, Kevin Trodd and Dave Still met
on 2 October to further discuss the issue. It has been established DUCT
that DWAF Midmar Office manage the flow releases and further
discussions will be planned with them. Essentially, there is to date
no agreed environmental flow regime despite the water law that
was passed 9 years ago. DUCT and LMCMF will continue to lobby
for a change in practice. It seems that there are no releases below
Nagle Dam at all. In discussion, it was suggested that included in
the motivation would be the recommendation of emergency
releases to flush spills, as part of the strategy.
Steve Cohen presented a slide show explaining catchment
management structures, both statutory and non-statutory and
outlined how the Lower Mgeni River Forum plugged into the
broader     institutional   environment.     The     concept   behind
establishment of CMFs, is to delegate some of the management of
water resources to a local level. The forum was initially set up to
address practical issues and iss considered the right model for
groups with common interests and concerns to lobby together.

It was noted that the LMCMF is the only CMF that has been
initiated by community rather than by DWAF, and it has always
enjoyed good support from DWAF. DWAF informed the forum that
the Umvoti CMA is relevant to the LMCMF locality.
An important step now is considered to be the mobilisation of
industry to get involved in conservation. A Springfield ratepayer
association may exist and it will be a great achievement if industry
participated in the improved management of the river and its
biodiversity corridor.

SC will draft proposed terms of reference for the LMCMF based on        SC
the agreed mandate and objectives of the Forum. Some immediate
observations included the need to broaden membership and deal
with ecosystems such as the estuary in a holistic manner.

Johann Vermeulen will find contact information for Steve Cohen,         JV
for both estuarine and terrestrial ecologists involved in marine
coastal management. The forum will invite them to the next
meeting and ask them to deliver a presentation on their areas of
specialisation at Mgeni. Margaret Burger suggested that Steve
Cohen contact Nicci Demitriades, as she is an activist in the area
and it is believed that an historical study of estuarine ecology has
been done, and that a comparative study with the current situation
would be a good indicator for the kinds of goals and targets the
forum could set for rehabilitation purposes.
Steve Cohen presented three slides depicting different sections of
the river, clearly showing the density of urban and peri-urban
settlement along the river course, outlining some of the problematic
“hotspots” and pointing out the location of certain projects and

    5. ETHEKWINI TRAILS (GDCF Presentation)
Gary Cullen from the Greater Durban Community Foundation
(GDCF), presented the concept shared by themselves and the
Umgeni Estuary Conservancy (UEC), of a public /private
partnership initiative to optimise the usage of the Lower Mgeni for
recreational users and tourism purposes, by creating a project that
they have named eThekwini Trails. They are currently focused on
the Northbank and Riverside Road area, and are proposing the
set-up of co-operative businesses and public/private partnerships
that will manage various aspects of the proposed Trail. They are
currently looking at security aspects, roadside improvements,
recreational facilities and enterprise development, in the form of
maintenance and trail guide co-ops. The suggestion is that this
area would be designated a limited pay access area, which could
in part fund the security and maintenance of the trails. Included in
the suggestions for recreational use are a mountain bike trail, a
walking trail, guided canoing trails and bird viewing.
Funding is at present partly coming from NCP Alcohols and some
redirected spend from municipality, from for example Parks
Department who would have had a budget allocated for the GC
maintenance of that section of river.

The GDCF and UEC will be working with industry in Springfield to
try to establish an Urban Improvement Precinct for that area, and
this will include issues of cleaning, greening and security.
It is suggested that Gary Cullen contact Steve Butler to discuss
ideas of creating vegetated “filter systems” to clean the run off from
tributaries, that would be in line with the natural rehabilitation of the
wetland area.

DS stated that DUCT fully supports this initiative and offered to
provide any assistance that may be possible. SC indicated that he
hoped there could be collaboration around establishing and
supporting a river maintenance co-op and expressed hope that
DUCT could find some funding to procure the services of this co-

The LMCMF greeted the presentation with enthusiasm and
support, as the concept is definitely a shared vision for the
rehabilitation of the river and estuary.
Thanks to Chemspec and Ray de Vries, DUCT were able to
piggyback on a reconnaissance helicopter trip for the Chemspec
fifty Miler Canoe Marathon.        They were able to get excellent
footage of sand mining operations along the river banks, both legal
and illegal though they are yet to establish the legal standing of all
operations, which appear not to be monitored. Evidence of this are
illegal causeway construction across the river at various points,
and graded access roads to the mining operations themselves,
which seem not to have taken into consideration their impact on
the river ecology.
Problems with communication and access to information from PR & SC
DM&E continue. Pat Reddy asked Steve Cohen to let him have a
CD with the photographs and GIS coordinates from the helicopter
trip, so that he can take them and make a presentation at the
Steering Committee meeting in January, as the issue has already
been tabled for discussion in that forum. Another suggestion by
DWAF was that the LMCMF write a letter about a particular mining
problem and fax it to DME (Bernice Cullis subsequently sent DUCt
the EMP template for small scale mining for circulation). It was also    DUCT &
raised that a few lawyers have offered their services to DUCT if         LMCMF
ever needed, and that perhaps the LMCMF should consider asking
for legal assistance with the Access to Information Act in order to SC
get the necessary information on permitted and illegal mining sites.
Another suggestion was to get hold of Tony Carney and ask him to
write an article for the Mercury, and possibly even approach Carte
Blanche to do a story, so that public opinion can begin to put
pressure on the situation.

Further mention was made about the latest pump station failure,
which again was caused by a power failure, with all the resultant
damaging spill.     Fortunately, the communication channels with
DUCT were followed so due warning was given to paddlers.
However, Steve Cohen posed the question of what risk
management        strategies   municipality   were   considering   for
prevention of future problems near recreational areas, particularly
given the increasing incidence of “Load shedding”.        Emergency
generators at pump stations could be one way of dealing with SR
some of the problems. Sunil Ramkissoon has agreed to take these
queries and suggestions for a risk management strategy back to
municipality for further discussion.                                     SR
Sunil Ramkissoon will email the test results to Steve Cohen, from
the Willowfield trip.    He reported that a variety of industries,
including a meat packaging plant were found to be in breach of by-
laws by emptying their waste into the storm water drainage system
and are now facing disciplinary measures.
It is reported that NCP Alcohols have a treatment plant on site and
that is seems unlikely that any of the effluent is coming from them.
The request for weekly monitoring at the two hotspots at SR & LMCMF
Willowfield Rd and Connaught Bridge was raised again. Sunil has
asked LMCMF to motivate in writing for this, so that he can take it
back to committee, as they are currently focussing on monitoring at LMCMF
Blue Flag beaches and have not prioritised the estuary. He also
asked the forum to suggest a user-friendly format for the
presentation of water quality test results.
This remains a chronic problem. Storm water draining into the river
in the rainy season results in a significantly increased problem of
trash in the water and collecting on the riverbanks, particularly on LMCMF
the inter-tidal banks of the estuary and the sandbar at the mouth.
It was strongly suggested that the forum begin to look at national &
international examples of trash collection on water-ways and
management solutions for local implementation.
The summer season sees the proliferation of hyacinth and water
lettuce. Steve Terry of Umgeni has the budget and mandate for
some airial spraying. Steve Butler is requested to identify relevant    SB
areas and to discuss this with Steve Terry.
10.    GENERAL
Gail Reid reported an accumulation of green bags and apparent
ineffective cleaning of the sand bar at the river mouth.       Sunil SR
Ramkisssoon will find contact information for those responsible for
cleaning that area and request an intervention.
It is agreed that LMCMF should, at an agreed time in the future,
write a letter to invite the Mayor and the City Manager on a
helicopter flight to view the damage to river by illegal activities, and LMCMF
will include in their motivation, the need to address the issues as a
priority in the run up and preparations for the 20110 Soccer World
Good news:       The Department of Agriculture and eThekwini
Municipality   has    successfully    established   with   numerous
communities alongside the river, viable and productive vegetable

Next meeting: 28 January 2008
Venue to be decided (will approach Crusaders Canoe Club)

Meeting ended.


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