Carte Blanche: Land for Sale

Watch the very hard-hitting documentary screened by Carte Blanche on Sunday 12 July.

Criminal syndicates that dupe people into buying small portions of land – land that does not even belong to the syndicates in the first place!  It does belong to private landowners though; some living on their land and others that have just abandoned it and couldn’t care less that their neighbours are so severely affected.  Although this is happening all over South Africa – Carte Blanche focussed particularly on Elandsfontein in the South of Johannesburg and an area bordering the Schurveberg Protected Areas of the Crocodile River Reserve north of Johannesburg.

How does this affect the Crocodile River Reserve?  

The whole area of the Schurveberg is zoned in the Gauteng Conservation Plan as a Category 1 Critical Bio-Diversity Area – the highest status given to sensitive areas.  Several portions of the land in the Schurveberg neighbouring the illegal land settlements have been Gazetted as Protected Environments under the laws of South Africa.

What good has this done?  There is no action taken whatsoever to stop the plunder next door to the Reserve. Who is going to stop it?

Lack of services results in the indiscriminate stripping of the landscape of anything that can be used for fuel, or can be sold – indigenous trees are being plundered at an alarming rate, the threatened plants stripped, and the aloes that characterise the area disappearing in bakkie loads to be sold on the side of the road in the cities.

The City of Tshwane has taken no action whatsoever to stop the criminal activities. In spite of the loudest cries for action for a long time, the authorities conveniently have passed the problem around and no-one has taken any responsibility.

By-laws are infringed, environmental laws are ignored, and the authorities responsible for law enforcement are invisible.

Why do we need to pay attention?

Healthy and thriving bio-diversity is important for our well-being and ultimate survival.  We are not apart from it; we depend upon it.  So, it is not about selfishly guarding a pretty landscape – all the people destroying will suffer the long term effects of their destruction.

How can you help?

  • Join the “Friends of the Crocodile Reserve”, volunteer your time and join snare walks, nature walks, alien clearing, and many other activities that help to conserve this area.
  • Report aloe selling to the Crocodile River Reserve on . We will consolidate your inputs and give this info to SANBI.
  • DON’T buy wood on the side of the road for your braai – it is NOT sustainably harvested.
  • Browse our website to find out more about how you can contribute to conserving the area and also give your valuable ideas and inputs.