Let’s not pine for exotic water guzzlers

Chris Bedford, Harfield Village

It is a tragic mistake to consider exotic, water-guzzling trees enough of a “heritage” to re-plant (“Felling stone pines is a blow to heritage,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, February 17).

When I heard the Pinaster pines had been removed, I celebrated, and the Western Cape’s floral kingdom with me, I’m sure. We have lost and, worse, deliberately destroyed far too much of our natural heritage to consider reverting to the colonial past, no matter how precious some dinosaurs may consider that lamentable part of our “heritage”.

Let us not become like those Luddites in America’s southern states who decry the loss of monuments to a shameful past as if it were the same thing as a loss of that past.

We can celebrate our natural diversity without deliberately glorifying CJ Rhodes and others who raped and pillaged the resources of this country. By all means, put up a plaque at the self-glorifying Rhodes Memorial so that all who are interested can read about the hundreds of exotic species of fauna and flora that the man imported, but there is no reason – not even a bad one – to replace those trees. The Cape floral kingdom doesn’t need the competition, and our natural heritage is far more important than glorifying the jingoistic expansionism of the British Empire.

Let me hasten to add, before I am accused of being out of touch, that I am absolutely not a woke social justice warrior snowflake PC-gone-mad liberal lefty, and I recognise that the colonial powers contributed greatly to the building of South Africa. But we also have to acknowledge that their primary goal was self-enrichment and glorification and expansion of Empire, which they achieved by stripping what they could out of the ground, sending most of the wealth back “home” and enslaving and subjugating people.

We don’t need more pine trees. We have plenty.