Conservation nod for GMSA plant

BRANCHING OUT: GMSA engineer Huldah Solomon and GM Africa manufacturing vice-president Clayton Whitaker enjoy the indigenous garden at the company’s Struanway plant
BRANCHING OUT: GMSA engineer Huldah Solomon and GM Africa manufacturing vice-president Clayton Whitaker enjoy the indigenous garden at the company’s Struanway plant.

The Struandale plant of General Motors South Africa (GMSA) has received its conservation certification for invasive species control from the Wildlife Habitat Council.

The 37ha plant was recognised by the international council – whichmonitors habitat conservation and management on corporate land – for its control of alien inkberry, rooikrantz and Port Jackson.

Situated in the light industrial belton Struanway, the site was vulnerable to the importation of alien seed, GMSA group environmental manager Ncedisa Mzuzu said.

“There is a high risk of the species spreading from off-site to on-site, mostly through bird droppings or wind-scatter as Port Elizabeth is a very windy city with high velocity wind speeds.”

While the inkberry shrub is originally from Brazil, rooikrantz and Port Jackson trees are both acacias originally from Australia.

Typical of aliens, these three species tend to force out indigenous plants and sap precious groundwater.

But at Struandale, while the inkberry and rooikrantz had been eradicated, some Port Jacksons had been retained to help stabilise the site, Mzuzu said.

“We started in 2014 in line with our obligations under the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act with a survey of the property which NMMU’s botany department did for us.

“In line with their recommendations we then began a programme of digging out the inkberry and rooikrantz.”

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