We are pleased at the turnout of our first AGM since 2019 on Saturday 4 March 2023. It was the most beautiful day and the family friendly gathering was held under the large pine trees at Die Oog. We really appreciate the attendance of Alderman Eddie Andrews, Deputy Mayor and MMC: Spatial Planning and Environment and Terri Anne Valentine, Ward Assistant to Alderman Eddie Andrews.
AGM 2023 update
Brett Castel initiated the meeting with the Chairman’s address and Eddie discussed all the issues that the council is tackling, taking questions and staying to spend some time with us after the meeting as well. Topics that were discussed included the financial report, water levels, fire breaks, gate and fence maintenance, gardening, weeding, dam cleaning, tree cutting and general maintenance.
We are looking into the feasibility of establishing a Whatsapp group for members.
The importance of ongoing collaboration between the residents of the area, the committee and the City of Cape Town was highlighted.
Both the Chairman Brett and Eddie thanked the volunteer committee members for all the wonderful work they are doing.
Children and families all came together to sell and buy delicious hotdogs, homemade brownies and muffins, and cooldrinks during the morning of the event. All proceeds went to ‘Friends of die Oog’.
Notelets for Sale
One of our very artistic local residents, Michelle Liebenberg created beautiful illustrations inspired by die Oog. These printed notelets were on sale at the event to raise funds towards the ongoing maintenance of Die Oog. They include illustrations of the endemic Leopard Toads, Cape Weaver and the Cape Chameleon. Please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us on facebook if you’d like to purchase any.
45% of the proceeds go towards maintenance of die Oog
R60 for a set of 3 with envelopes
Obituary Brian Gripper
Condolences go out to the family of Brian Gripper who passed away on the 15th February this year. Brian was a founding member of Friends of Die Oog and served as chairman from 1992 to 2002. Brian’s contributions to Die Oog will leave a lasting impact and we are grateful that he cared so much for this community and the environment.
Water quality at Die Oog
The clearing of the invasive weeds between May and July last, and the good rains that followed created the ideal water conditions for the Western Leopard Toad breeding season early in September 2022. Less overgrowth and increased water levels improve the dissolved oxygen and lower Chlorophyll levels in the pond.
If anyone has visited Die Oog this past month, it is clear that water levels at the end of summer were once again critically low (early April presented a mere puddle at risk of drying up completely). A sign that the natural spring that used to maintain Die Oog became plugged or disconnected during the one-in-400 year drought between 2015 and 2019. We are grateful for the good autumn rains this past weekend and hope that more seasonal rainfall continues to refill Die Oog over the winter months.
The council has made water chemistry and quality data available on their website. An initiative brought forward by the Mayor of Cape Town to make information more transparent and available to the public. It covers all inland and coastal water bodies, and it can be accessed via this link: https://odp-cctegis.opendata.arcgis.com/documents/inland-water-quality/about.
The charts below show water sampling results for selected water quality indicators, Chlorophyll-A, water temperature, pH and oxygen saturation.
The team from the council hopes to return to do some more clearing work ahead of the winter rains. Clearing of invasive plants in and around the pond cannot be done during the endangered Leopard Toad breeding cycle which extends between September and December. The team from the council plan to revisit Die Oog during the week of the 9th March to assess what needs to be done.
Security and maintenance
An important aspect of our role as Friends of Die Oog (FODO) is to engage with the city council and relevant organisations like WESSA for the overall maintenance and improvement of our beautiful City.
Positive work by the council includes the clearing of plant overgrowth in and around the dam, and the creation of fire breaks between Die Oog, the wetland area, and surrounding residential areas.
The electronic locking mechanism of the access gate is unfortunately an ongoing problem for FODO. Thanks to the initiative of the committee, the gate lock system was fixed at the end of December, with the addition of a solar power source for the automatic unlocking and locking mechanism. We are very grateful to Mark Shaw who has spent many hours troubleshooting and working on repairing it. Unfortunately, as we were about to publish this newsletter, the gate stopped working again, and our committee members are, once again, having to manually open and close the gate.
PLEASE NOTE: Gate times are from 6:30am to 6:30pm, all 7 days of the week.
Health and safety
A longstanding problem involved sewerage lines in Lake View Road. Incidents of blockages in the main sewer line were reported for over a decade. The severity of these blockages increased during the latter half of 2022, and overflows into neighbouring gardens and the grounds of Die Oog were reported to the council. This matter was thankfully addressed at the end of 2022 and the sewer pipes were relined. No incidents of sewer blockages have been noted since, and e-coli levels appear to have dropped, as evident from monthly water sampling at Die Oog (see chart below).
The chart below shows E.coli levels within the water column at Die Oog, and the arrows highlight the times when levels reached slight risk (1000-4000 Orange) and high risk (>4000 Red) of gastrointestinal illness. Anything below 1000 is considered low risk. Red triangles indicate when neighbours reported sewer blockages or overflows into or adjacent to Die Oog. We are pleased to see that the water samples reflect the work done by the council in that the lowered e-coli levels are notable at the end of 2022, following the maintenance to the sewer lines along the margins of Die Oog.
Together we are stronger
Please note, as agreed at the AGM, we have increased the annual family membership fee to R100 from the start of the new financial year, February 2023.
Thank you for the renewals and generous donations that came in from September 2022 to early 2023.
We rely heavily on subscriptions and donations, so please feel free to extend an invite to family and friends who may as well. Any additional donations go a far way to help us cover the rising costs of maintenance and ensure that we are able to keep our gardener employed on a regular basis.
Please email us at email@example.com for any questions or if you’d like a copy of the minutes of the AGM or the financial report.
From all of us on the Friends of Die Oog committee, we wish you all the best.
Co-chair for Friends of Die Oog