The City of Cape Town has approved funding for baboon management on the South Peninsula, but has taken court action to get other authorities responsible for baboon conservation to contribute.
Council has approved funding of R4.75 million to keep baboon monitors around the Peninsula in the field until the end of the current financial year. The City is, however, in the process of appealing to the Cape High Court to urgently decide what role and financial responsibility each sphere of government has to fulfil in baboon management, as the City is currently the only funder.
After lengthy discussions about baboon management with the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), SANParks and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape (through CapeNature), the DEA and CapeNature agreed to partially share in the responsibility and contributed R1.1 million and R300 000 respectively towards baboon management for the period 1 February to 30 June this year. This contract has been extended to 30 September and the City’s contribution has been R2.2 million.
The additional R4.75 million approved by the City will pay for baboon monitoring to continue until at least the end of the current financial year. In recent months it became apparent that neither the Provincial nor the National Government will commit funding for monitoring baboons outside of the Table Mountain National Park.
According to Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayoral Committee Member for Planning and Environment, the City of Cape Town has to ensure that baboon monitors are kept in the field, despite the lack of commitment from the other role players. “The interruption of the baboon monitoring programme would be disastrous for the City and its citizens in many respects. Significant concerns that arise include the safety and security of residents in areas where baboons occur, the disruption of the control that is currently being exercised over the various baboon troops, as well as the loss of momentum in ensuring the long-term viability of a controlled baboon population on the Cape Peninsula.”
Nieuwoudt added that a proposal was made to the other spheres of government to join the City in a mutually cooperative approach to the High Court for a declaratory order determining the respective responsibilities, but the other role players refused. Should the other parties not contribute financially to baboon management in coming years, the City would have to provide funding of close to R10 million annually towards this purpose.
“The City has done everything in its powers, especially over the past 18 months, to come to an agreement of shared responsibility with the other role players. The City does not have the Constitutional mandate to protect wild animals and to keep wild baboons within the boundaries of the Table Mountain National Park, using ratepayers’ money that is meant for the delivery of essential City services. The habitat of baboons is an open-access national park situated within urban areas, therefore the cost of managing baboons cannot solely be the responsibility of the City. We now have no other choice than to take the matter to the Cape High Court. Legal proceedings are currently underway and it is hoped that the High Court will secure a hearing on an urgent basis,” said Nieuwoudt.
The contract of the current service provider for baboon management, the Nature Conservation Corporation, comes to an end on 31 September and the new tender process is currently underway.
The current baboon monitoring programme is very successful in keeping baboons out of urban areas and it is vital that the programme not be interrupted. It is vital that other troops that are not currently being monitored, also be included in the programme.
Communication Department, City of Cape Town
Media enquiries: Ald Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayoral Committee Member for Planning and Environment, Tel: 021 400 1307 or Cell: 084 224 0023
Stephen Granger, Manager: Major Programmes and Projects, Environmental Resource Management, Tel: 021 487 2236 or Cell: 084 331 8638