Three firefighters died trying to help stop a raging veld fire threatening the Oori Private Nature Reserve near Lanseria Airport for the second time on 11 November. Local residents have already collected R45 000 to help the families of Adrian Haywood, Peter Molomo and Bornfirst Moyo. See Facing the Fire Dragon below.
In a scary series of events Lesedi Cultural Village and Alpha Conference Centre, both in Kalkheuvel, were damaged by separate fires on Sunday 15 November. At the same time, Culterra nursery on the R114 was also damaged by fire.
Phelisa Matyolo, one of the dancers at Lesedi Cultural Village bordering the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, was selected as one of five Youth Rhino Ambassadors to represent South Africa on a visit to Vietnam in October. The five carried an urgent appeal to Vietnamese citizens and Asian government leaders to bring an end to the rhino poaching crisis in Africa.
For months, from late July, Joburg Water polluted the Jukskei-Crocodile Rivers by releasing sewage directly from Northern Treatment Works into these water courses which feed Hartbeespoort Dam.
As the reality of the continual sewage flows hit home - and the river flowed dark, dirty and stinking, day after day - anger rose. A petition was begun with one aim: hold the responsible authorities accountable for this damage.
A petition targeting authorities responsible for large-scale pollution of a river is one small step. The real journey is to tackle the systemic failure of management and political will that has resulted in the ongoing pollution of rivers and dams across Gauteng and, indeed, South Africa.
Sewage discharges are poisoning most major dams in South Africa, including Hartbeespoort Dam. Eutrophication of the water, caused by high levels of nutrients, ie sewage, promotes the growth of cyanobacteria - blue-green algae.
Officials from the Conservation Directorate of the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) have just completed a final round of biodiversity assessments in the project area of the Crocodile River Reserve. This project area covers the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy and stretches further east to include a critically threatened ecosystem.