The Crocodile River Reserve in Centurion will finally be declared a protected nature reserve by the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development, reports Centurion Rekord.
More than 3,000 hectares of pristine land in Tshwane form the core of this reserve, lying between the Schurveberg Mountain in the north and Renosterskop in the north-west.
This declaration by the department marks the end of a 40-year process by about 100 local landowners to give it protected status.
Landowners in the area will now enjoy greater protection both in terms of development and nature conservation.
This after Gauteng agriculture and rural development MEC Kgosientso Ramakgopa declared the area as protected in the government gazette on October 2.
The decision by the department was welcomed by the majority of residents.
“The residents of Laezonia and Schurveberg have been fighting for this for many years,” said local ward councillor Kingsley Wakelin.
“They approached me to help them with the process two years ago and so we took the issue to the Gauteng provincial legislature.”
Wakelin said the new status would go a long way in ensuring the development was properly controlled in the area.
“Because it is now officially a green area, the reserve can be protected in terms of what kinds of development takes place.
“This will stop the urban creep that has been threatening the area for some years now.”
Local environmental activist Willem Snyman said he was also happy with the decision as this would help protect the banks of the Hennops River which runs through the area.
“We feel this is just a start but a good one,” he said.
“Our hope is that even larger parts of the river areas will also form part of this protection and enjoy the same legal rights.”
The MEC made the declaration on a formal request received from the landowners in 2014, said departmental spokesperson Roleta Lebelo.
The department provided a number of reasons why the area was declared as protected.
“It supports a variety of habitats in the form of wetlands, caves, three river systems, ridges, bushveld and grasslands.
“It forms an upland-lowland link between the Schurveberg and the low-lying dolomite and granite grassland areas,” according to Lebelo.