“The Friends of the Liesbeek is a non-profit organisation working tirelessly to preserve the environs of the Cape’s Liesbeek River. Founded in the early 90s by resident volunteers, FoL looks after the river, which runs through mixed-use urban areas.
The FoL team performs river clean-ups and alien species control, as well as leading environmental awareness outreach programmes and the development of the Liesbeek River Life Plan, a roadmap to
rehabilitate the river.
Sabelo Memani, Liesbeek Maintenance Project’s project manager, explains that urban rivers and their environs play a crucial role in climate-change mitigation and adaptation, and the health of the people located along it. With the employment of permanent workers by LMP, the Liesbeek River’s condition continues to improve and is being maintained as one of the best examples of an urban river project in South Africa. Memani explains that the Covid-19 pandemic has threatened their business model, which relies on funding, much of which has been lost owing to the financial pressures of lockdown.
The support FoL provides the local City of Cape Town is critical. FoL plans to offer skills development and training opportunities to people from previously disadvantaged communities.”
“Since the formal inception of the Liesbeek Maintenance Project (LMP) over 11 years ago, the condition of the Liesbeek River has continued to improve and it is often referred to as one of the best examples of how an urban river can be maintained in partnership between community-based groups, private funders and a local authority,” says Memani.