“What on earth is wrong with the Jukskei?” Ed Visser, general manager of Monaghan Farm near Lanseria Airport, was worried. “The water was dark, almost black, and stank,” he said. This, one of Gauteng’s main rivers, winds for several kilometres through Monaghan and the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy.
On Tuesday 23 October Ed and his colleague, Pieter Tolmay, decided to investigate. They traced the source to the Northern Waste Water Treatment plant, several kilometres upstream. Raw sewage was cascading into the Jukskei, not far from HeronBridge College. Pieter took photos and a video of the thick, black, stinking sewage entering the river.
On 14 April Northern Farm's 2 000 Bovelder cattle go under the hammer. The Bovelder breed has been developed over decades on Northern Farm and it has played a major role in the beef industry, providing thousands of top quality genetic breeding stock all over Southern Africa.
“I should have brought my whole extended family!” said one visitor to the Rhenosterspruit / Magaliesberg Biosphere “Living Naturally Festival” held on 13 March at Alpha Conference Centre. “And all my friends,” added his wife as she sampled some of the delicious home-made jams and breads at Hana's Herbs. Her kids weren't interested in herbs – they were watching Experilab's Francois Germishuizen creating scientific magic.
In the Oori Game Reserve 3G has nothing to do with email. It's a male of a different sort altogether: George the previously-lonely Giraffe and two of his lovely young female companions, Georgina and Georgette, add up to 3Gs.
Many conservancies, including Rhenosterspruit, have been burdened with a continual stream of development applications.
The Bathabile School's “green classroom” is gathering interest and support from near and far. The rains have slowed progress and project manager Niko Knigge from Doornrandje has had to juggle labour and working times, plus contend with theft of material. The floor was thrown on Monday 22 February so the structure is ready for its roof and the strawbale walls.
A disaster quietly unfolding on the West Rand is moving rapidly towards the Crocodile River which flows through the RNC.
The future of Northern Farm, bordering the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, hangs in the balance.
“Help! The land next to our offices in Lanseria has been cleared for a car park and the giant bullfrogs are under threat in this entire area. Do you know of any immediate safe suitable habitat for relocation of these beautiful creatures?”
Northern Farm has become a major recreational facility for thousands of city people needing a place to escape to over weekends. It attracts more than 4 000 visitors per month.
Northern Farm was forced to sell 800 of the Bovelder breeding stock on 14 April. This was in spite of many efforts to find workable solutions which would suit all roleplayers – Joburg Water, Onderstepoort Veterinary Department, the Northern Farm Recreational User Group, Joburg Municipality, the Northern Sewage Works and the Farm itself.
The Oori Game Reserve's lonely giraffe, George, is awaiting the arrival of two mates. The boma where the ladies will be kept for a while to get used to their new surroundings is being constructed on Jakkalsdans, the Coles' property.