A SUSPECT under the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEM:BA) x Moringa oleifera's ecological and social costs and benefits.
Moringa is widely distributed across the globe for its multiple uses as well as high nutritive content and great economic attributes; subsequently it has been highly commercialised. Even though moringa is fast becoming an important crop in several parts of the world, in South African context, it is not recognised for such, and is listed on the Species Under Surveillance for Possible Eradication or Containment Targets (SUSPECT) under National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEM:BA), since it is not native to South Africa. Where it is established in South Africa, people perceive the numerous qualities of moringa as beneficial and this can result in conflict generation between communities and policy makers who have to safe guard against alien and invasive species spread and impact. In this paper, we review the ecological, social and legal status of moringa in South Africa, and highlight the importance of conducting research on non-native species with the focus of improving evidence base prior listing of species on national regulations. Moreover, we highlight the need to also focus on social aspects of invasive species, using a cost-benefit approach to assist in decision making regarding control, management and eradication of moringa and other non-native plants.