You have been warned: chopping down a municipal tree in Johannesburg can cost you R50 000 or more, according to the city.
This emerged when Parkhurst Residents and Business Owners Association took to Twitter to call out residents who were chopping down trees owned by the city without permission, adding that street trees belonged to Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo.
“A Parkhurst resident who today hired a tree feller to chop down a tree has been issued with a R50 000 fine. Please contact City Parks on 011-375-5555 if trees need trimming,” the association said.
City Parks spokesperson Jenny Moodley said there had recently been a few incidents of residents in Parkhurst chopping down municipal trees.
The fines for cutting trees down in prime locations could set one back tens of thousands of rands, depending on several factors.
“There is a fixed fine and an additional fine to replace the tree, which depends on its type and age, the location and so on, and it can be more than R50 000, especially if the tree is very old and in a prime location.”
Moodley said the city’s tree canopy was being threatened by illegal felling, densification, increasing infrastructure and the impact of inclement weather.
The city is also planting fewer saplings because of water restrictions.
“It is therefore vital every tree is protected from individuals who are ignorant of the dire consequences of not having a tree canopy in a highly populated city such as Joburg.”