Committee Feedback

For up-to-date news, activities and calendar of events please visit www.crocodileriverreserve.co.za  

This biodiversity stewardship project aims to provide formal conservation protection for the area of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, and beyond. 

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Committee Feedback

The committee is elected at the annual general meeting of members.    Here you can find out what the committee is working on.

Motions for the AGM

Notice of motions  -  Annual General Meeting  -   26 July 2009

You are hereby informed that the following motions will serve before the Annual General Meeting of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy (RNC) on 26 July 2009

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Feedback: February 2009

Points from the February 2009 RNC committee meeting.
 

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Chairman's Report 2008

It is 21 years since the forerunner of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy – Kareebosrand - was created in 1987 – the first conservancy in what is now Gauteng.  

Achievements of the 2008 year

Conservation

Conservation calendar:  One of the priorities stated at the 2007 AGM in November was to initiate regular environmental activities during 2008.  More than 15 walks, talks and courses involving trees, bats, leopards, snakes, stone circles, birds, organic farming, recycling, grasses, history, scorpions, spiders and other fascinating goggas have taken place or been booked into next year already.  See monthly e-newsletter, VeldTalk.
Veld and land management:
Alien eradication – hundreds of hectares treated for Pom-pom by Lynne Clarke and her teams.  On the “east” landowners cleared their own properties.
Wetland rehabilitation and erosion:  Assistance from Gauteng conservation authorities.
Working on Fire:  Meetings have taken place, exploring the possibility of a team of 25 stationed on Northern Farm
Exploring Stewardship and Protected Areas agreements:   RNC has initiated meetings with Gauteng conservation authorities and conservancies to explore more protected status for conservancies in terms of national biodiversity stewardship legislation and targets.
Egoli Granite Grassland:   This critically endangered biome is found in Hills and Dales and Doornrandje.   Gauteng conservation authority is investigating using large portions of these grasslands, which would then be managed as nature reserve, as offsets for the losses of similar grassland areas elsewhere now being destroyed by developments.
Environmental Management Frameworks (EMFs).  These are “studies of the environmental attributes of an area to guide environmental decision-making”.  Three EMFs are happening in our area (Ward 48)  -  commissioned by Tshwane, the Gauteng conservation authority (GDACE) and the Cradle of Humankind which is proposing most of the RNC as its buffer.

Lobbying

Official tour.  This is an annual event to make officials aware of the attributes of the RNC.  Twenty officials from Gauteng, Tshwane, Mogale, the Cradle and DWAF (Water Affairs) were taken on a day’s tour of the RNC in May.
Setting up and/or attending meetings with Tshwane and provincial authorities to ensure the RNC stays informed about policies, guidelines and decisions impacting on the RNC.
Expanding the RNC membership.   Welcome to new members: the  Henrys (DR), Alpha Conference Centre (KH), al Fiume/River Place, Werner Begere and Janet Webber (Hennops),  Alan Kennedy and partners (DR), the Dawsons (Hennops) and the Chapmans (RSE).

Communication


VeldTalk is sent monthly to 350 RNC residents plus 200 officials and other conservancies.
Website:  Set up and maintained by Mercia Komen.  www.rnc.za.net and www.rhenosterspruit.co.za.
Public meetings:  Authorities are using the RNC to host meetings and to disseminate information.  (The Tshwane EMF feedback meeting:  Saturday 2 August in Hills and Dales.)

Marketing and promotion

Conservation Calendar:  The events are highlighted in VeldTalk and on radio stations’ diaries.
AA Magaliesberg Map:  The RNC appears prominently on this map (80 000 copies, 2008).
Mail&Guardian Greening the Future:  The RNC was short-listed for a merit award.
Presentations  Talk to Wits students by invitation; guest speaker at Gauteng conservancies.
Guests:  Hosted conservancy delegates from Western Cape, North-West and Kenya.

Development Monitoring

The RNC is registered as an Interested & Affected Party (IAP) for all development applications in and adjacent to the RNC.  Since 2004, 20 applications.  For each, comments or objections are submitted and public meetings and Tribunal hearings are attended.

Fund-raising

The purpose of the events organised by the RNC committee is two-fold:  conservation awareness and fund-raising.  A good example was the Bat Evening (Nigel Fernsby) which netted R1 200.  We hope the coming Ride the Rhenoster will be an excellent fund-raiser.

General

Negotiations are underway to incorporate Diepsloot Nature Reserve (Northern Farm) into RNC.
The court case between Wraypex (developer of Blair Atholl) and members of the RNC is scheduled for 14 – 24 April 2009.  The summonses against the RNC total R210 million.  

Results of activities in 2008 year

Conservation activities

An ever-increasing awareness of the RNC and its value to a larger area of Gauteng
fund-raising for the RNC
extending environmental education to a greater circle
providing opportunities for RNC members and residents to learn about their unique area and conservation issues in interesting and entertaining ways
showing responsible environmental stewardship.

Communication

Keeping members informed of events within the RNC
promoting the RNC to many outside people and organisations
growing a base of support within and beyond the area
positioning the RNC as a vibrant and proactive region and destination.

Lobbying

Higher profile among officials and government agencies
ability to give input into future planning and the character of this area
informed residents
positioning the RNC as a proactive region that is practising proper stewardship
using the special attributes of the RNC to convince officials and government agencies of the value of maintaining the area as open space
gaining allies among officials and government agencies in the campaign to keep the area as a conservation zone
growing membership and thus increased support for, and involvement in, community-based conservation.

Marketing / Promotion

Building a position for the RNC as a relevant environmental institution with valuable experience

Development monitoring

A position for RNC in the development community and government agencies as a force within conservation and a voice for development that is compatible with a unique greenbelt area
a tough proponent of legal development approaches and processes.

Helen Duigan, Chairman  -  082 657 2120:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                27 July 08

Feedback - Dec 2008

Finances

The Conservancy's financial year end is in February. 

November invoices for renewal of membership have been sent out by Sue Hatfield (Treasurer).
If you have not received an invoice, or you wish to join, please contact Helen Duigan.

The RNC incurred costs in the year for treating Pom pom in the west.  Lynne Clark provided the cashflow for the project on behalf of residents.  This entailed the purchase of herbicides, petrol for transport, and wages for a team of workers working from portion to portion.   Not all landowners compensated Lynne/the Conservancy for this service. 

Please note that this initiative was a SERVICE to residents reluctant or unable to address the alien invader; the initiative was not for profit.  However, it was also not intended that the meagre funds in the coffers be spent on the responsibility of land owners.

Membership Boards

If you are a member, a board is provided to display at your gate. The cost of the board absorbs a part of your first year membership fee. 

Stewardship

The Conservancy is monitoring progress in Gauteng on Biodiveristy Stewardship agreements.  These will allow landowners to be involved in conservation in a more formal manner.

There are obligations and benefits for both landowner and government.  Mercia Komen and Helen Duigan have attended a number of meetings and workshops in this regard.   More information to follow. 

About the RNC

The Conservancy has published a booklet "Living in the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy" for residents.  
These booklets have been available at general meetings for a donation, and have been handed out to new residents.  
The publication will be updated in the course of 2009.  

If you wish your business, service or interest to be featured, please contact Mercia Komen.

Living in the RNC Inside

Conservation Calendar

Planned for 2009:
Muti plant
Bird Walk
Astronomy evening
Spider Walk
Residents' tour of the RNC
History Tour

If you have a specific interest or knowledge to share, contact Helen.

Mountain Bike Trails

We wish to formalise trails through the Conservancy.  Presently a large number of cyclists enter the Conservancy and go where they wish, including over fences and into sensitive areas.  

This project will run in the new year.

The "Ride the Rhenoster" Mountain Bike event will be repeated in the last quarter of 2009.

Fire Protection Association

This is an important initiative to comply with regulations and protect residents.  Previous efforts to form an association had dwindled away.  Perhaps the massive fires and losses sustained in 2008 will provide the impetus to carry it through in 2009.
If anyone is willing to help with this specifically, please contact Helen.

Development monitor

Quarry opposite Rhuslancea.   No response from Bokamoso.  DME claims application has been lodged. 

Nesongozwi sent out notice re copper and platinum prospecting application in Hennops and Roodekrans.  Please reigster as IAP.

Simon’s View – No application made but website up and running, advertising stands.

Cradle City (Lanseria) 1 100 ha.  RNC registered as IAP and objections lodged.  Anthony attended public meeting.  Awaiting feedback.

Buffer EMF – additional input requested and given.  Draft expected June 2009.

Community Policing Forum

RNC has made a donation to the CPF.  Please get involved witht he CPF. Bea Kuhn (SAPS) is hardworking and dedicated.

Contact details

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:     084 460 6454
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.         082 869 8105
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  083 324 7791
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 079 773 6498 (office)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:         082 902 9149
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:       082 822 8268
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:  083 253 4576
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:      082 657 2120
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.     082 997 7880
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.     082 738 3558


Minutes of the Annual General Meeting

Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy (RNC)

Al Fiume, Hennops River, Sunday 27th July 2008

Welcome: Helen Duigan, RNC Chairman, opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. Special thanks to al Fiume (Andrew Banks and Lourens) for use of the venue and for refreshments.

Committee members present: Helen Duigan, Anthony Duigan, Sharon Bernhardt, Lynne Clarke, Fransa Cole, Dalene van der Merwe and Caroline Kruger

Apologies: Hatfields, Corlette Wessels, Pieter and Meryl Horn, Johan and Rita van Dyk, Cheryl Christie, Clive Brooke, the Loosens, the Fernsbys, Steve Panos, Alan Brooke, Mark Oosthuizen and Lise Essberger

Attendance register:  All were registered on arrival.  List available.

Exhibitors:  Representatives of several interest groups exhibiting at the AGM were introduced.  These included Refilwe, Alistair Armstrong (Apricus), Bob and Christine Garbett (Pelindaba Working Group – Campaign Against Nuclear Energy), Horse Haven, Fern Gully Nursery School (Gerhardsville), Bathabile School (Doornrandje), and Willem Snyman, artist.

Minutes of the 2008 AGM:

The minutes of the 2008 AGM meeting were presented by Anthony Duigan.  (These had been e-mailed to members beforehand.)  Minutes accepted -  proposed by Wim Schimmel and seconded by Alan Kennedy.

Section 21 Company and Constitution

Anthony Duigan explained that though the committee recommended going for Section 21 status at a previous AGM, further investigation has revealed that the audit requirements of a Section 21 Company are potentially very costly and that directors also have many legal requirements and responsibilities.  It was proposed that the issue of finalising Section 21 status be put on hold and the committee investigate the option of registering rather as a Non Profit Organisation (act 1997).   This was agreed by the meeting.
Anthony explained that the RNC does not have legal status currently. It is a voluntary organisation guided by its constitution.

Suggestion from floor:  Hennops Walk, registered as a Section 21 Company, gets its audit done free and is prepared to put their auditor in touch with the RNC.  This will be explored by Anthony.

Chairperson’s Report for 2008

Since a printed report of the year’s activities and projects was available, Helen Duigan noted that she would not deal with the issues it contained in detail but would only touch on key highlights.  These included the following:

 

  • This is the 21st anniversary of the creation of the Conservancy, starting as the Kareebosrand Conservancy – the forerunner of the RNC and the first conservancy in what is now Gauteng.
  • Over the past two decades this area has been threatened with mass housing developments  -  first – 50 000 houses in 1986 and then later 24 000.  Early initiatives in the Conservancy prevented these developments.  Balanced against this were the reasons people came to live in the Conservancy  -  , space, rich biodiversity, lack of pollution, no traffic and a good place for bringing up families.
  • Since 2004 there have been 19 applications for upmarket developments in this area.  The RNC’s approach has been to register as an Interested & Affected Party for each, to monitor that they follow the required legal processes and to submit information, comments and objections where applicable.
  • The RNC area is subject to several layers of planning which will determine its future:
  • Gauteng’s Conservation Plan (C-Plan2).  This maps the entire province in terms of biodiversity.  According to the C-Plan the RNC has considerable irreplaceable and sensitive areas worth protecting.
  • Tshwane Municipality’s guidelines.  The RNC falls in its “Natural Area” category, indicating limited development (5% of a property, after sensitive areas have been subtracted)
  • An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for Ward 48, into which the RNC falls.  This will also provide guidelines and plans for the area.  The final report is expected soon.
  • An Environmental Management Framework (EMF).  This has been commissioned by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment (GDACE), over the north west sector of Gauteng, which includes the RNC.
  • The Cradle of Humankind’s proposed Buffer Zone.  This also covers most of the RNC (stretching east from the Cradle up to the R511).  An EMF is also being commissioned for this region.
  • The Magaliesberg Biosphere.  This includes the Magaliesberg, Cradle and RNC and is being investigated by various authorities.  If approved, this Biosphere would fall under the auspices of UNESCO and should thus carry significant influence.
  • Underpinning all the above is a vibrant Conservancy with two vital elements:
  • active, involved members
  • the area’s considerable “treasures”, from its three rivers to the variety of plants, trees, animals and birds as well as the fascinating geology and cultural and historical sites.
  • Tours for officials are organised annually so the decision makers that plan for the area have firsthand experience of the landscape, biodiversity and the local community.
  • Priorities for the future included the following:
  • bringing the RNC in line with national Biodiversity Stewardship initiatives
  • assisting with efforts to protect the endangered Egoli Granite Grassland, which covers a large portion of the RNC
  • raising local and public awareness of the varied Conservation Calendar offered by the RNC (VeldTalk plays an important role in publicising what’s happening in the RNC:  it is sent to 350 people in the RNC and another 250 people (public, officials and other conservancies).


Stewardship and protected areas

Mercia Komen explained the concept of Biodiversity Stewardship, introduced by the Dept of Environment and Tourism (DEAT).  The aim is to conserve 10% of South Africa’s biodiversity.  At present Gauteng is conserving only 2% and assistance from private landowners is needed.  There are three options for landowners to conserve the land they own:

  1. Join a Conservancy – no legal status and very little assistance from Government.
  2. Protected environment.  This entails a contract with the provincial government to conserve land with high biodiversity value.  The landowner agrees to certain conditions and concomitant assistance is given from the conservation department.
  3. Nature Reserve.  Stringent conditions apply to the landowner but considerable legal protection is given.


The RNC committee is meeting with GDACE to discuss these options.  Currently, Francolin Conservancy (north-east of the RNC) is investigating a pilot project to obtain Nature Reserve status.  Relevant documents pertaining to this issue will be added to RNC website.

Eskom Science Project

A video clip was shown featuring the fascinating environmental projects of three young girls, winners of the Eskom Science Expo.  This was much appreciated by the audience, including the 30-odd “Hennopskop” learners.

Treasurer’s report for 2007

Copies of the 2008 Financial Report were made available.  It was a short financial year   -  November 2007 to June 2008  -  because the AGM was changed from the traditional date in October/November to July.  The RNC had an income of R51 116 for the period and spent R25 546 during the eight months to end June.   Expenses incurred over the year were mainly on the official tours as well as on the pompom clearing project.  

Income came from membership fees, courses offered, events and donations.

The RNC has one long-term liability  -  R97,300 for legal costs in connection with the Blair Atholl application. This is a loan from Arthur Barnes and is currently being repaid at a rate of R1,000 per month.  However, the intention is to repay this loan in significant tranches with money raised through fund-raising initiatives.

The treasurer’s report was accepted.  Proposed by Bob Garbett and seconded by Richard Angus.

Membership

Membership forms were available for those wishing to contribute to the work of the RNC. Cost: R700 per year or R70 per month.  A new level of membership, “Friends of the RNC” is available:  R100 per year.

Fund-raising

‘Ride the Rhenoster’.  Date:  7 September.  It will start at the Hennops River Primary School, which will provide family fun on the day.  The ride will cover about 40 kms in a single circuit route on dirt roads.  R100 per entry and R50 per additional person brought.  Proceeds go to RNC.  Fransa Cole asked for volunteers to help in setting up and running the event. There will be a limit on entries (300).  Pre-entry is preferred.

Wim Schimmel raised the danger of introducing a new route to cyclists who could use it in future without permission.  It was agreed that this was an issue that required careful management.

Election of New Committee

The 2007/08 Committee stood down.  Two members were not available for re-election:  Arthur Barnes is in Canada and Lynne Clarke has requested a sabbatical.   The rest of the 2007/08 Committee was nominated to stand again and a further nominations was put forward  –  Trevor Garbett from Riverside Estates, proposed by Bob Garbett, seconded by Karen Schimmel.

The Chairman said not everyone had the capacity to serve on the committee but that volunteers were most welcome, giving what time and help they could.  Volunteers to date included Heather van der Heiden (Doornrandje), Stella Angus (Hills and Dales), Lilliane Buenzli, Alpha Greeff, Karen Schimmel (Hennops River) and Mercia Komen (Doornrandje).

General

  • Bob Garbett briefed the meeting on another development pending next to Riverside Estates, called Mountain View.   
  • Details on CANE (Campaign Against Nuclear Energy) are available from Bob Garbett.  New members are very welcome.
  • Terry O’Donoghue requested feedback on the Cradle Buffer Zone. Helen Duigan explained that a consultant has been appointed to do an EMF, but other than that there was no other visible progress.
  • Willem Snyman (an artist from Hennops River) is exhibiting on 18 Oct at World Art in Joburg. He hopes to bring animals back and restore the area to something resembling its previous natural state.
  • Tertius – wants to start an organic vegetable bulk delivery scheme. Needs six people to start the scheme.  
  • Mercia Komen welcomed Bathabile school principal and staff to the meeting.  The bags decorated by learners were on sale. Proceeds go to the school.
  • Sharon Bernhardt thanked CTM Lonehill for donating tiles to Bathabile and Refilwe.


Bob Garbett thanked the committee for their hard work

Anthony Duigan thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

The Hennops River Primary junior revue group entertained everyone after the meeting.

Minutes:  Caroline Kruger