The City, SANParks and CapeNature have signed an agreement laying out their roles and responsibilities on a joint task team to manage the Cape Peninsula’s baboons.
The signing comes more than two months after the agreement was approved by council on Wednesday April 26 (“City plans to extend current baboon programme,” Bulletin, May 4).
Jenni Trethowan, from Baboon Matters, a non-profit conservation organisation, said they had been waiting for the agreement to be signed since June last year when Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy had held discussions, in June last year, on the management of the peninsula’s baboons.
“I am disappointed that it is taking such an incredibly long time with no implementation strategy at all at this stage. More than a year down the line, what have they achieved and how long is it going to take us to get to an implementation point?”
Gordon Chunnett, from the Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, said the agreement was “a few years too late”.
He added: “It was a requirement of a court injunction in 2016 that they were obliged to reach an agreement. It has taken them since May of 2016 till now on something that should’ve been done seven years ago.”
The agreement lays the foundation for the three spheres of government to work together on a more sustainable management plan for the Cape Peninsula’s baboon population, according to a statement from the Cape Peninsula Baboon Management Joint Task Team.
The agreement clarified the collective and individual roles and responsibilities of each sphere of government, the statement said.
The agreement also aided joint decision-making through the task team and would oversee the execution of a baboon-management plan once it had been approved.
The task team said it hoped to have the management plan ready for signing by the end of August after reviewing public comment on the draft plan.
The plan was published for public comment on Friday January 27 and by the closing date of Friday March 31, the task team had received more than 800 individual comments.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA had also given “valuable input and guidance” on the draft plan, said the task team.
The task team said it would call for representatives from community groups and research institutions to participate in a baboon-advisory group, and once the baboon-management plan had been signed by all three authorities, the task team planned to meet with communities affected by baboon contacts to devise area-specific solutions.
“The intention is to operationalise the plan with specific solutions that address the different needs, circumstances, resources and geographical concerns of the different communities, to ensure these are best suited and most appropriate to their respective areas, and are supported by residents as far as possible,” the statement said.
The agreement is available at: https://bit.ly/3CYVevA