A huge yellow ribbon has been tied around the old oak tree near St Luke’s church in Main Street, Howick, by concerned residents who started their second week of protest against the uMngeni Municipality’s town “rejuvenation” plans.
The oak tree has become a symbol of the fight against the actual problem, which is a lack of public consultation on the municipality’s plans, which include the felling of historical trees and replacing them with indigenous trees planted in concrete tubs.
Environmental action group Green-Howick said their plan is to tie yellow ribbons around all the trees that residents feel are “vulnerable”.
They received no assurance of consultation from Mayor Edward Dladla, council or the municipality over further tree felling.
Green-Howick said the municipality will probably take the ribbons down, but advised residents to keep an eye on their chosen trees.
Residents also placed crosses and ribbons in the stumps of trees that have already been felled.
The group said both indigenous and alien trees had yellow ribbons tied around them during earlier development, but none were spared.
About a year ago, there was a similar case where old Acacia sieberana trees were cut down to accommodate building plans for the new Howick shopping mall, and no attempt was made to include the trees in the parking area plans.
According to the Municipal Systems Act: “members of the local community have the right to contribute to the decision-making process of the municipality”.