Last piece of Roodeberg land secured for intergration into Table Mt National Park
WWF South Africa, The Table Mountain Fund (TMF) and South African National Parks (SANParks) are pleased to announce the successful incorporation of the final Roodeberg property, ERF 16852, into the Table Mountain National Park.
Launched in January 2014 the Restore the Roodeberg campaign set out to raise the R9.2 million required to purchase the remaining Roodeberg properties into the Park, ensuring the conservation of this richly biodiverse landscape for generations to come.
After months of hard work, the Restore the Roodeberg team has reached their target thanks to significant contributions from WWF South Africa, The Table Mountain Fund, the National Parks Trust of South Africa, the Rupert Nature Foundation, the Joan St Leger Lindbergh Charitable Trust, the Leisure Charitable Trust and an in perpetuity private landowner agreement.
“The Restore the Roodeberg campaign has been an unmitigated success in securing high priority conservation worthy land for consolidation into the TMNP,” explains SANParks’ TMNP Planning Manager, Michael Slayen.
“The consolidation of the five Roodeberg properties has added 260 hectares of prime conservation land to the national park estate and secured recreational access for hikers, bikers and horse riders along the designated routes in the area.”
Dr Morné du Plessis, WWF South Africa CEO, commented: “While our indigenous fynbos is both fire-adapted and fire-prone, we must do what we can to ensure the land and vegetation can respond as it should. Removal of alien vegetation is expensive and time consuming, yet so vital. It also provides job opportunities in the area, and creates a direct connection with nature.”
Following years of neglect and misuse, the incorporation of the Roodeberg properties into the Park comes with the on-going challenges to restore the land back to its pristine state. The properties are infested with alien vegetation, there are inappropriate structures (fences, buildings etc), footpaths are in poor condition and there is severe erosion on portions of the properties.
The rehabilitation process, which will be rolled out over a number of years, has been initiated through the government’s job creation and training programme being implemented by the TMNP’s Biodiversity Social Projects department. The rehabilitation process, which began in June 2014, has already been instrumental in creating over 100 jobs from the local Masiphumelele community.
“The initial focus of the rehabilitation work has been on cutting proper fire breaks and clearing the alien invasive vegetation. This will be supported by on-going burning of vegetation stacks in the winter months and over time, the removal of the inappropriate structures, maintenance of footpaths and the rehabilitation of the impacted areas of land,” explains Slayen.
This campaign has built on the success of the SANParks, WWF-SA, TMF partnership initiative of the early 2000s which incorporated over 450 hectares of the privately owned Noordhoek wetlands into the Park, so linking the northern and southern sections of the TMNP across the Noordhoek/Fish Hoek valley. This was followed in 2010, by the donation to SANParks of a 180 hectares of the upper Kompanjiestuin property adjacent to Oceanview.
“The Restore the Roodeberg campaign has once again shown the benefits of interorganisational collaboration in the conservation of our natural landscapes. Without the support of our partners, donors and the public we could not have achieved this major conservation win. We wish to acknowledge and thank every individual and organisation that supported us in making the Restore the Roodeberg campaign a success,” concludes WWF’s Land Programme Manager Natasha Wilson.
LATEST NEWS – June 2018
The remaining R102 000, which was raised through the public during the Roodeberg Campaign, was directed towards the rehabilitation of two of the Roodeberg properties. The funds were used to contract an engineer to recommend appropriate methods for removing a dam wall and weir structures on the Table Mountain National Park and City of Cape Town boundary of these properties. This process included stakeholders meeting with local organisations, residents and authorities. The rehabilitation work proposed in the engineer’s report will be started under the auspices of the Working for Wetlands Programme in 2019 and 2020.
Furthermore, since the purchase of the properties, there is an extensive on-going alien clearing programme (funded by SANParks) which has to date amounted to over R3 million. Some of the unauthorised structures on part of the previously Solole Game Reserve have also been demolished and removed.