Hartbeespoort Dam’s hyacinth influx has plagued the dam, until now. With the help of Hya Matla Organics, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has invested millions to help the company successfully turn the world’s worst weed into fertiliser and animal feed.
John Kondowe, executive director of Hya Matla Organics, told Kormorant: “By harvesting the plant and turning it into organic fertiliser, we complete the cycle of turning the pollutants into nutrients which [we] then feed plants or animals. Thus integrating the cycle back into economic ecosystems, which [benefits] the economy at large.”
The Mintirho Foundation is Coca-Cola’s vehicle for supporting the development of historically disadvantaged emerging farmers and small suppliers of inputs into the CCBSA value chain. The foundation’s executive manager, Noxolo Kahlana, said Hya Matla Organics caught the foundation’s eye because its business model was to remove waste from catchment areas and preserve water.
“Water is something on which our business is totally dependent, and in a water-scarce country like ours, we have a responsibility as [an] industry to help where we can to conserve water. Therefore, supporting initiatives aimed at cleaning our water catchment areas is critical, and something that CCBSA is committed to advancing,” Kahlana said.
Rudy Joles, CEO of the Harties Foundation NPC, which has been continually fighting the hyacinth invasion and pollution on the Hartbeespoort Dam for the past two years, said the foundation welcomed Hya Matla’s assistance in removing the invasive water plant.
“We congratulate Hya Matla on their funding and future endeavours, and have already engaged with them to join our long term holistic approach, supported by the estates around the dam and donors at large,” Joles said.
“As a town, we stopped an ecological disaster when action was taken in 2017 leading to the current result of less than 15% hyacinths coverage on the dam. Harties Foundation has a five-year-plan which does not only consist of hyacinth removal, it also involves overseeing quality of water, installing and maintaining litter-traps and floating wetlands as well as promoting ecological control. This will make a tangible and sustainable difference in the long term while also creating jobs and opportunities for the local community.”