Part of the October Veld Plants Walk took place on the to-be-proclaimed Egoli Granite Grassland (EGG) nature reserve in Doornrandje. Prof George Bredenkamp, who led the walk, was involved with the original identification and description of EGG in Gauteng.
He says: “Human impacts on this sensitive ecosystem have resulted in an altered species composition, loss of many species, and a change from a species-rich grassland with high conservation value to a species-poor grassland with low conservation value. The conservation of the last remaining relicts of original Egoli Granite Grassland is essential.”
The fires that swept through the Conservancy this year left vast areas looking bare and bleak. Add to that the fact that spring and summer rains continue to fall Elsewhere in Gauteng, bypassing our “droë driehoek” once again! (What attraction does Elsewhere have for the rains?)
The endeavour to provide sports facilities for local kids in the Oori has taken off. Michelle Panos, who initiated this project, writes: “About 15 boys and 12 girls arrive to play each weekend. Three of the local landowners' boys came on their small motorbikes and asked to join in. Within minutes they were all playing together on our very rudimentary fields, displaying team work and talent which belied the humble facilities. It was heartwarming to see how sports really can transcend socio-economic barriers.”
The Conservancy's 2009 “Ride the Rhenoster” mountain bike ride elicited varied responses. From “Wow, this was absolutely awesome!” and “The toughest I've ever done” (gasp) to “I am so proud of myself!”
Daisy Farm, hidden in the middle of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy and used by Craig Williamson and others during the late apartheid years, is being demolished systematically in rather odd circumstances.
“Our grasslands need a champion,” says Mercia Komen of Doornrandje. She is particularly passionate about the grasslands that cover Hills and Dales and Doornrandje. And with reason. The RNC has only recently become aware of the specific significance of the grasslands that cover this part of the RNC - the endangered Egoli Granite Grassland (EGG).
Wraypex (developers of Blair Atholl Golf Estate near Lanseria Airport) is suing five members of the adjoining Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy (RNC) for R210 million for "damages" and defamation" after we'd consistently objected to irregularities in the development process.
I quote from a letter from the GDACE MEC, Mosunkutu, to Mervyn Gaylard, whose case comes up next week, in which the MEC admits to "construction-related activities" commencing "unlawfully" on Blair Atholl:
"...Dr Cornelius informed me that these allegations have been investigated and the the developer was in deed commencing with construction related activities unlawfully."
Plans to develop a massive mixed-use precinct on 912ha around Lanseria International Airport were unveiled in Johannesburg this past week, according to media releases from the developers, Amari Land.