The Working for Water Programme provides a vehicle for using the employment opportunities that arise from dealing with the environmental threat of invading alien plants. In the longer term, however, some cost-effective means must be found to prevent re-invasion of cleared areas. Biological control - the use of insects and diseases that target invading plants while not harming other plants - is an ideal weapon in the armoury of managers who seek long-term solutions to the problem of invading aliens. The Working for Water Programme recognises the need for such long-term solutions, and will ensure that they are implemented where available, and that further biocontrol agents will be found for our worst weeds. The biocontrol initiative represents a constructive collaboration between the Programme's partners, and the Plant Protection Research Institute of the Agricultural Research Council, in conjunction with implementing agencies in all of the provinces." These were the words of Professor Kader Asmal, then Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, and Mr Derek Hanekom, then Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, when they announced during 1996 that research into the biological control of alien invasive plants would in future be funded by WfW.

Since that time, two three-year funding cycles have been completed, resulting in the release of several species of natural enemies against some of the most aggressive invaders, and significant progress with research on numerous potential biocontrol agents. Currently, the third three-year funding cycle is underway, involving research into the biological control of five groups of invasive plants.