Matome Malatjie and Munya Mugadza of Hya Matla
If you keep an eye on the Hartbeespoort Dam, you will see two weed harvesters silently chasing hyacinth every morning.
The two machines belong to Hya Matla and the company has been working non-stop since it was appointed in September to remove hyacinth from the Hartbeespoort Dam. Besides the two harvesters, approximately 50 workers are deployed around the dam daily to manually remove debris and hyacinth from the dam.
“To date, we have removed approximately 25ha of hyacinth from the dam,” says Hya Matla Organics CEO Matome Malatjie. “We initially had one harvester on the dam but we brought a second one last week. The two harvesters remove about 1.6ha of hyacinth daily. Hyacinth normally peaks on the dam between now and January and that is why we have intensified our efforts to remove it.”
The hyacinth is regularly picked up from the shoreline and transported by truck to the company’s factory where it is turned into compost.
The debris removed from the dam and shore is sorted at the Hya Matla base at De Rust and recyclers do regular pick-ups.
“We are happy with the progress and will continue to work at this pace to remove the weed before it becomes prolific again,” Malatjie said.
In the meantime, the hyacinth bug Megamelus scutellaris is also doing its job. “The current hyacinth cover is approximately 9% and the average abundance of bugs has quadrupled over the last month. This is due to the rearing station releases and optimal breeding conditions at the dam. Over the last two weeks 50 000 Megamelus scutellaris have been released,” said Dr Kelby English of the Rhodes University Centre for Biological Control (CBC).
A second weed harvester is now on the dam.