By Phephile Motau
The Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Moses Vilakati has urged the community of Malindza in the Lubombo Region and the entire nation to desist from cutting down trees.
He said they should end cutting down particularly indigenous trees, in accordance with Section 19 of the Flora Protection Act 2001. The minister said this during a tree planting campaign where 130 indigenous trees and 280 tree seedlings were handed over to the Malindza Umphakatsi as part of the European Union (EU) Green Week reforestation activities.
The ministry collaborated with the EU and Yibutse Green Action. He said the government strongly believes that the Umphakatsi will take a leading role in ensuring that the trees are taken care of, and are not cut for short-term gains.
“Today, we are all saying, we do not want to see people cutting down trees for sale on the roadside, but we want to see more trees being planted here in Malindza,” the minister said.
The minister said trees play a very important role in people’s lives that include reducing the impacts of climate change, purifying the air that they breathe, and also preventing air and water pollution.
“Trees also play a role in the recycling of water to produce rain and the massive growth of trees around Malindza can help improve the climate of the area,” he said.
The tree planting campaign was launched in September 2020, with a target of planting 10 million trees in five years under the slogan “Plant a tree and save the environment – Hlanyela sihlahla, wonge Imvelo.”