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Council approves new by-law to protect nature reserves, visitors<p>‘Cape Town forms an integral part of the Cape Floristic Region, with much of its unique biodiversity being highly threatened and restricted to small areas within the City’s municipal boundaries. The Nature Reserves By-law will assist us to protect and conserve this unique and spectacular biodiversity,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.</p><p>The City’s 23 nature reserves have been proclaimed in terms of the National Environmental Management Protected Areas Act (NEMPAA) and the City is the designated management authority.</p><p>The nature reserves comprise a total area of 17 035 hectares. To support and expand this footprint, the City also manages 16 City Park sites in terms of a Biodiversity Agreement. These sites comprise another 381 hectares. They are home to critically important biodiversity, but also serve as valuable public amenities, for example, the Rondebosch Common.</p><p>The importance of our biodiversity is also recognised by the private sector with 12 stewardship sites on private land being managed in terms of a perpetuity stewardship agreement. This private property protects a further 2 262 hectares of critically important biodiversity. </p><p>The protected areas provide important ecosystems and contribute to Cape Town’s future sustainability and resilience to climate change.</p><p>‘The Nature Reserves By-law will enable the City to fulfil its obligations in terms of the NEMPAA, and ensure that protected areas are utilised by learners, tourists, volunteers, and Capetonians in a sustainable manner.</p><p>‘Currently, the City of Cape Town’s 23 nature reserves are managed in terms of the National Nature Reserve Regulations. Once promulgated, the Nature Reserves By-law will allow the City to improve efficiency, and to enforce these regulations more vigorously through the municipal court system and the issuing of compliance notices,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.</p><p>The Nature Reserves By-law is based on the national regulations.</p><p>‘Thousands of people visit our nature reserves every month. They want a safe space, and an environment that contributes to the pleasure and enjoyment of being in nature. We have a responsibility towards these visitors, but we also have a duty to ensure that we preserve our nature reserves for future generations, and that the activities taking place in these areas are sustainable and not harmful to the environment,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.</p><p><strong>The by-law:</strong></p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">regulates the management of the City’s nature reserves</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">prescribes access to nature reserves, entrance and access points, uses, and the conditions under which an area may be closed to the public </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">lists prohibited activities including the feeding and hunting of animals; removal of precious and endangered plants in reserves; dumping and littering; playing of loud music</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">lists activities that require prior authorisation such as filming, tours, events, research, the flying of drones, rock climbing, and so forth</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">allows for the appointment of voluntary safety officers, nominated by the existing Protected Area Advisory Committees, to issue verbal or written instructions to visitors. </div></li></ul><p>Nature reserves are open from sunrise to sunset, and the by-law requires visitors to always carry their entry permit for inspection, unless access to the reserve is free. It also determines that no person may overnight in a nature reserve without written authorisation from the City.</p><p>The by-law empowers peace officers to issue a fine, or instruct those who are contravening the by-law to leave the reserve. The instructions may be verbal or in writing, and the person must comply immediately. It also allows the reserve manager, as the authorised official, to ban any person who fails to comply with the provisions from its nature reserves for a certain time period; and provides for procedures to appeal against any administrative decision taken by an authorised official.</p><p>‘A good example is speed boats and their drivers who often fail to comply with the rules when they are on the water. The same applies to those who are driving in a reckless and dangerous manner in reserves where 4x4 vehicles are allowed. The by-law allows the safety officer to recommend to the reserve manager to impose a ban on the driver for a certain period as a corrective measure. Failure to comply with the ban would be an offence, and this person may be prosecuted in the municipal court and fined, if found guilty,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.</p><p><br><strong>End</strong><br></p>2020-10-28T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#6ec4174a-5cde-4fbb-b20f-42e26e79bb87;L0|#06ec4174a-5cde-4fbb-b20f-42e26e79bb87|nature reserve;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#fe1372cc-3168-4376-b201-0a8a04d6081e;L0|#0fe1372cc-3168-4376-b201-0a8a04d6081e|by-law10

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