Pollution and sewage spills into the vlei are degrading the waters of the Zandvlei at Muizenberg to such an alarming extent that this now requires immediate and serious action if the vlei is to be saved for the benefit of all present and future generations. The vlei is currently in a desperate state because of litter and weed and from the stench caused by sewage spills, rotting weed and detritus; the water is becoming de-oxygenated which is killing fish and other water life and also silting up which threatens the effective circulation and exchange of fresh and sea waters that are required to keep the water healthy and productive.

Why ZANDVLEI matters:

•   It is a nature conservation park, a wetland habitat for some 166 species of birds

•   It is a breeding ground for many types of fish which then replenish stocks in the sea

•   It is a habitat for several species of frog and other amphibians

•   It is a recreational area for residents from all over Cape Town, providing open spaces for people to braai, go canoeing, fishing and yachting and as a result is of benefit to all communities across the city

•   Over 5000 homes in Muizenberg, Lakeside, Steenberg, Capricorn, Vrygrond and Marina Da Gama are on or near its shores

The vlei is supposedly managed according to the Zandvlei Estuary Management Plan which has failed in meeting many of its objectives. But the City of Cape Town (CoCT) has displayed both lack of transparency and responsiveness to many requests by residents for engagements and information on the state of the vlei and potential solutions.

This petition is a direct request to the responsible Mayco member, Xanthea Linberg and executive director, Michael John Webster, to come and personally meet the communities who surround and use the vlei, and respond to our requests below:


For the last few years the Council have openly accepted that sewage leaks present a serious problem. There is no effective barrier or defence protecting Zandvlei from pollution spills from the local industrial estates and the out of control illegal tipping/dumping of every type of waste.  Despite the rivers being canalised, there are no diversion tanks, no sluice gates, not even a simple pile of sand that could be bulldozed in as a dam and later removed.

We therefore ask for:

•    A written undertaking outlining the short term achievable actions (12 months max) of the CoCT to protect Zandvlei from future sewage and industrial spills.


The silting up of Zandvlei has long been identified as a problem. The accelerating encroachment of the sandbar up the estuary mouth is slowly throttling the vlei. This is due to the method City of Cape Town uses to open and shut the mouth, the irregular manner in which those openings are conducted, as well as the presence of the rubble weir.

We therefore ask for:

•  the current  plans of the CoCT that will be implemented to effectively resolve the silting and sedimentation problem.


The existing COCT litter traps are poorly designed, decrepit and dysfunctional. In addition there is no functioning cleaning system prior to rain events. As a result they are unable to handle the rubbish washed down during rain events and unacceptable amounts of rubbish are washed down into the Zandvlei protected area.

We therefore ask for:

•      Confirmation from the CoCT that a contract for the clearing of the canals will be finalised before 30-04-2021 and be renewed on an annual basis.

•    Assurance that the canals will be cleared manually or mechanically monthly, as well as before every rain event, should the state of the canals require it.

•    An undertaking from COCT that all available measures will be taken to ensure access to the canals at known dumping hotspots is prevented.


The weed harvester has been operating intermittently and the effective operating hours per month have been consistently falling due to lack of operators and unreliability of the 50 year old machine. The weedharvester performs several critical functions:

•   Harvests and removes the weed and associated nutrients viz nitrates , phosphates et al

•   Aerates and circulates the water in the channels

•  Mixes the water column from the surface down to the bottom layer thus preventing or mitigating undesirable conditions evolving

We therefore ask for:

•  A copy of the tender issued for the new harvester, written confirmation of the procurement status with a date of delivery, and if complete, the name of the successful bidder.

•  If a procurement process has not started, then a copy of the last minutes at which the new harvester was discussed,

•  A clear explanation as to why the existing harvester has been inoperative for several months for what is believed to be a minor repair.

•  A copy of the minutes of the last meeting where the repair of said harvester was discussed.

•  A summary of the monthly operating hours for the past 24 months.