Zaakirah Vadi – Look Local Lenasia – August 7, 2012
Piles of decaying cow skulls were discovered at the Oupa Fats Wetlands this weekend by community members.
More than a thousand, the skulls are arranged into individual mounds. The first heap still has bits of decaying meat stuck to it, and attracts a number of birds. The other ‘skull hills’ are in various stages of decomposition.
Bags of skulls bearing the names of companies involved in the bone meal and animal fodder industry are positioned next to the heaps.
Bits of cattle hide, some fresh, littered the disturbing landscape.
On Monday, Council and the Lenasia SAPS conducted and onsite inspection. Shocked officials covered their noses in disgust, as the stench of rotting carcasses filled the air.
Confirming the illegality of the situation, officials could not establish if the skulls were being processed into bone meal or were just dumped.
City Parks’ Senior Manager for Region G, Reggie Moloi expressed concern over the skulls entering the wetlands system. Noting that a rise in water levels could carry the bones into the wetlands, Moloi added that it will possibly see the death of fish.
He noted that the Department of Environmental Health and the Environmental Conservation Department would have to be brought in to handle the situation.
Environmental Health Practitioner, Karishma Durgapersad, stated that Pikitup will be contacted to remove the skulls.
Officials however, did not guarantee that sentries would be posted to monitor the area and catch the culprits. Moloi explained that he did not know who the entire Oupa Fats Wetlands belonged to, and therefore this needed to be established first. “There’s a bigger investigation in terms of who owns the land. We know that it was a golf course before owned by the City of Johannesburg; it is still under Sports and Rec. I know City Parks (is in charge of) wetlands…we don’t know in terms of boundaries.”
The Rising Sun contacted a source from the Department of Community Development, Sports and Recreation, who confirmed that the land belongs to council and falls under their department.
The source added, that there is no funding for the development of the Oupa Fats area. The Department’s Assistant Deputy Director could not be reached for comment.
Other suggestions to combat the problem included blocking off access roads to the area. PR Councillor Zarina Motala noted that 10 JMPD officials are to be allocated per ward for bylaw enforcement, another possible solution. JMPD’s Edna Mamonyane said that she will follow up with her bylaw director.
Lenasia Going Green’s (LEGG) Yoonus Mitha confirmed that the organisation was aware of the skulls.
He added that LEGG could not speculate as to who was behind the matter, but that the overall abuse of the wetlands area continues unabated.
Mitha again brought up the theft of valuable peat sand, the burning of copper cables at the wetlands, and the dumping of rubbish.
“The wetlands is a protected area. South Africa is signatory to the Ramsar Convention which was signed in 1998. 50 percent of the world’s wetlands have been destroyed. We don’t want this wetland to become a statistic,” ended Mitha.
Tags: Lenasia, oupa vets, Rotting cow head