The most obvious way of protecting an environmentally sensitive area is to restrict any transformation and destruction caused by buildings, roads, and removal of indigenous vegetation, ploughing, grazing livestock, mineral prospecting and all other activities that can damage the ecosystems and biodiversity forever.
To this end, Municipal by-laws and national laws must be obeyed.
The City of Tshwane’s by-laws and the National Environmental Management of Protected Areas Act (NEM:PAA) are designed to protect South Africa’s environment and critical biodiversity. Certain areas are zoned for protection, and the geographical area where we live is one of those.
The City of Tshwane by-laws require that the footprint of any development, including roads and services, is contained within five percent of the total size of a portion of land. As indicated in the Rural Spatial Development Framework designed by the City, 1 dwelling per 10 hectares, after sensitive areas i.e. ridges, wetlands, endangered flora among others have been excluded from the total size, is allowed. Any new structure requiring a foundation needs approval. This includes sheds, swimming pools and extensions to existing houses.
The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) will require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be conducted for any planned clearing of more than 300 sqm. Approval is needed from the GDARD for, among other things, dams and weirs, schemes for the use of ground or surface water, large scale irrigation and the concentration of livestock or poultry in confined structures for the purpose of commercial production, roads or tracks in a sensitive area.
Local and national environmental legislation is extensive and demanding. By taking time to find out the situation in advance you will avoid much heartache and the expense of a costly rehabilitation process which will be imposed if activities are undertaken without permission.
The proclamation of the area as a Reserve does not add any further rules.
The Grassland Stewardship Alliance, as the custodian of the Crocodile River Reserve, will insist that for the benefit of all we live in compliance with every law, policy and guideline of the authorities.