Upfront, understand that the Protected Areas Act requires of us, the landowners, to appoint a Management Authority and to determine the rules by which the area will be managed and protected. Landowners - not the state, not some consultant.
The State must accept what we propose, and we may want to ask advice from specialists on some matters. But the bottom line is WE appoint the management authority and WE decide the rules.
Who is the Management Authority?
It can be a landowner, a committee of landowner representatives, an NGO (like Endangered Wildlife Trust, WESSA, etc.) or an individual. It is also possible for it to be an organ of State though this option is not under consideration here.
The consensus so far is that it should be a committee of nominated landowners.
Each committee member should represent a neighbourhood group, of practically manageable size (number of people and surface area) without geographically barriers (e.g. rivers or tar roads). In other words, where it makes sense for a local group of landowners to work together and build consensus, one of their group is representative on the committee which is the Management Authority.
It is the Management Authority that signs contracts – one with the State and then with each of the participating landowners.
The Contract with the State describes the responsibilities to manage the protected area (whether Nature Reserve, Protected Environment or combination of the two).
The Contract with the landowner binds the owner to the management plan and its implementation. It includes a limited power of attorney for the purpose of endorsing the title deed. This endorsement indicates the protected status of the land, and that there is a nominated Management Authority responsible for ensuring conservation takes place.
If the Management Authority fails, the Nature Reserve can be revoked.