It is our considered opinion that not all residents voice their opinions on social media platforms.
Overstrand Municipality has also received a number of letters of gratitude supporting the decision to euthanise BBM1. Reasons given (stated on the emails), were that he caused hundreds of thousands of rand in damage, kept people hostage in their own homes and was a big danger to small children, women and pets leaving them scared and traumatised after raiding a home.
According to these victims of BBM1, they are too scared to post their relieve on social media as they are bullied and harassed by some baboon activists. One person said: “I know for a fact that I am talking on behalf of a lot of residents, some of whom work offshore in Europe who have been on the receiving end of unpleasant remarks.
We appreciate role-players’ input into meetings held, and although not everyone agrees with the implementation of the Baboon Management Guidelines as it currently stands, it is the only tool available to guide Baboon Management in the Western Cape. No other Authority or Organisation has presented or proposed an alternative to the current guidelines and therefore until alternative guidelines have been approved the current guidelines are applicable and will be implemented by the Overstrand Municipality. Adaptive Management is still in line with the Strategic Baboon Management Plan (SBMP) of the Overstrand Municipality, but these must compliment the objective of the SBMP which is to “keep baboons out of the urban area”.
Overstrand baboon troops
Within the municipal area, there are approximately 14 baboon troops of varying sizes comprising about 450 animals in total. There are “hotspot” areas that experience the presence of baboon troops more frequently than others. These are currently Rooiels, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay, Kleinmond, Onrus, Hermanus Heights, Fernkloof and Voelklip. Not all of the “hotspot” areas are high risk areas for baboon-human conflict or require urgent intervention. For example, the Rooiels community has baboons living within the urban area but does not feel that specific intervention is required outside of what the community itself is currently providing. The actions of people and how they live and environmental factors such as fire or drought can change the behavioural patterns of baboon troops and therefore the risk potential for human-baboon conflict within specific areas changes over time. It can increase in some areas and decrease in others.
The past three years has seen an increase in development of residential properties in Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond as people leaving the city to come live in the Overstrand. Unfortunately, this means less wide- open spaces for our wildlife. The fire of 2019 has left large areas of the Kogelberg Biosphere barren during a long period of drought and as the community started rebuilding their homes after the fire the new building sites where the builders’ bags of food would lay unsecured became easy pickings for hungry baboons and this increased the incursions of baboons into the urban area very quickly. The calls from concerned members of the community flooded in and the Municipality realised that the risk that was once low has been aggravated by change that would not soon be overcome.
Baboon management function
The function for baboon management was assigned to Overstrand Municipality by the Provincial Government on 4 September 2019. The assignment is to sustainably manage the baboon population in the municipal area by keeping them out of the urban area. This must be done by implementing the Strategic Baboon Management Plan (SBMP) that was jointly developed by the Western Cape Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP), CapeNature and the Municipality. As a result, the Overstrand Baboon Management Joint Task Team (BMJTT) was established as the joint decision-making structure to maintain oversight over the persons tasked with the implementing the SBMP, as well as to deal on a consensual basis with contentious or sensitive matters that may arise.
The Overstrand Municipality has been assigned the function by Province to act as management authority and implement the service of managing baboons in the Overstrand and therefore there was no need to follow a Participation Process to implement its mandated service.
The Service Provider, Human Wildlife Solutions, was appointed in October 2019 to manage the Overstrand Baboon Management Programme for the Overstrand Municipality. The Supply Chain Procedure that was followed to appoint the Service Provider was through the Deviation Process in accordance with Paragraph 36 of the Supply Chain Policy for the appointment of a Sole Service Provider for the provision of the specific service of the “Virtual Fence” technology. At that stage Human Wildlife Solutions was the only Service Provider in our Country that could provide that specific technology within a Baboon Management Programme.
The assignment from the Western Cape Provincial Government provides the Overstrand Municipality with a Constitutional mandate to implement the SBMP.
Strategic Baboon Management Plan
The purpose of this Strategic Baboon Management Plan is:
“The sustainable management of local baboon populations, by keeping them out of urban areas.”
In order to achieve the above purpose, the following results are required:
Result 1: Adaptive management informed by sound monitoring and evaluation and scientific research;
Result 2: Efficient regulatory requirements and support provided;
Result 3: Baboon troops monitoring and fences, including virtual fences, to keep baboons out of urban areas;
Result 4: Waste Management to ensure that waste is inaccessible to baboons;
Result 5: Public communications and awareness to enable stakeholder co-operation;
Result 6: Citizen partnership to enable localised institutional support.
Baboon Liaison Group
In the Implementation Schedule of the SBMP, one of the actions required as part of Result 6 is the establishment of a Baboon Liaison Group (BLG), so the first Western BLG met in August 2020 and the Chairperson, Cllr Fanie Krige was elected to chair the meeting.
A Terms of Reference was drafted for the BLG and the Overstrand Municipality invited all organisations involved or affected by baboon management to apply for membership earlier this year. At the January 2021 BLG meeting, the BLG accepted the Terms of Reference for the group and now there are specific organisations with elected representatives that sit on the BLG. This is in line with the Strategic Baboon Management Plan approved by the Provincial Cabinet.
The next BLG meeting is scheduled for 14 October after which the meetings will be held on a monthly basis.
The organisations confirmed as members are the
• Betty’s Bay Baboon Action Group,
• Betty’s Bay Ratepayers’ Association,
• Betty’s Bay Conservancy,
• Concerned Sunny Seas Residents,
• Kleinmond Nature Conservation Society,
• Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve Company,
• Pringle Bay Baboon Action Group,
• Pringle Bay Rewilding Group and the
• Sunny Seas/Jock’s Bay Action Group
Provision is also made for the membership of independent researchers and one person was accepted for membership in this category.
Furthermore, there is a representative of the Ward 9 Ward Committee and a member that will act as liaison with estate agents. In an effort to have the committee as representative as possible invitations were extended to representatives of the Overhills, Proteadorp and Mooiuitsig communities, but no response as yet has been received. The municipality is represented by councillors, officials involved with environmental management, solid waste management and legal services, as well as its service provider.
The purpose of the committee is to serve as a forum for constructive debate between the municipality and community and business organisations to discuss the Overstrand Municipality’s strategic baboon management programme. The committee has an open door and it stands other persons and organisations free to apply for membership. One of the standing items is the monthly report from the service provider, Human Wildlife Solutions. Members are given the opportunity to pose questions, submit proposals, give advice share ideas and engage in a meaningful manner.
We acknowledge that the dustbins in public open spaces are not baboon proof. The Hangklip-Kleinmond Administration has ordered eight public bins to be delivered and placed in Betty’s Bay. This is not sufficient, but more bins will be purchased on an ongoing basis.
Although there has been a lot of disruption and interference by members of the community trying to stop the service provider from keeping the baboons out of the urban area, there has been improvement keeping the troop out of town in certain areas of Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond. It should be noted that it is very difficult to show a high percentage of success in such a short space of time (May to September) where a troop has been highly impacted by human behaviour and environmental factors (eg. Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond).
The Environmental Management Department has been fortunate to employ a Project Manager for the Programme from September 2021 who will spend more time on the ground tending to essential topics such as waste management improvements, education and information material development, baboon proofing of Municipal infrastructure, document control, contract management of the service provider and quality control of service delivery.
The Overstrand Municipality Integrated Waste Management By-law of 2013 has been reviewed and updated / amended over the last two years.
In February 2021 the draft document was published for public comments and the public had until the 16th April 2021 to comment on the document. There were comments received from seven interested and affected groups or persons. Their comments were then reviewed by a panel and the draft amended to include their comments where required, the final document was then presented at the June 2021 Infrastructure & Planning Portfolio Committee meeting and approved for addition to the June 2021 Mayoral Committee Meeting.
Unfortunately, the June 2021 Mayoral Committee and Council Meetings were cancelled due to Covid-19 and the item then only served at the August 2021 Mayoral Committee and Council Meetings where it was approved subject to the By-law been workshopped with the Councillors prior to Gazetting. This workshop has taken place and we are currently organising to Gazette the new By-law.
Note that the new Overstrand Municipality’s Waste Management Bylaw to be gazetted stipulates that each home owner or tenant/occupier must use an animal proof containers in all declared animal problem areas and the Municipality may institute legal proceedings against the owner if the following waste management activities are not complied with.
Below are two extracts out of the By-law which have relevance to waste and animal problem areas.
Section 13. 10) Only animal proof containers may be used by residents in areas which the Municipality has declared as problem animal areas and these containers are at a cost obtainable from the Municipality or an approved vendor.
Section 13. 11) If an owner or occupier of premises in a problem area is using a receptacle that does not comply with the requirements of the Municipality, he/she will be instructed to obtain an animal proof container from the Municipality and, in cases where the Municipality is of the opinion that more than one animal proof container is needed due to the volume of waste, the owner or occupier will be compelled to purchase such container from the Municipality.
The Definition for animal problem areas was amended to include, as listed and amended as required from time to time on the Overstrand website, this is to allow the municipality to declare areas and then once an area has been declared the By-law can then be enforced.