CapeNature to take legal action against illegal entry and vandalism of infrastructure February 23rd, 2022
CapeNature to take legal action against illegal entry and vandalism of infrastructure
Over the last few months CapeNature has experienced serious cases of vandalism, particularly at Uilkraalsmond Nature Reserve. The offender/s have repeatedly tried to gain illegal entry after operating hours by digging up the boom gate stand and by loosening nuts and bolts. These acts of vandalism as well as the illegal entry into the reserves are criminal offences. Should the offenders get caught, they will be charged according to the Criminal Procedures Act.
Another matter that is being addressed is the unlawful driving of vehicles within the coastal zone. More specifically, driving over the dunes and along the beach. This includes beach-based boat launching with a vehicle. Several signboards have been placed within the reserve, at the entrance to the reserves, along various roads leading off the jeep track and at the end of the jeep track to indicate to visitors that they may not drive in the coastal zone. These regulations are in place to protect the sensitive coastal ecosystem and dune systems and protect breeding seabirds that nest on the beach for example, the African black oystercatcher.
The regulations emanate from the National Environmental Management Act: Integrated Coastal Management Act 24 of 2008 and has been in place since 2008. Thus, the regularly used excuse that offenders don’t know or have always been allowed to drive on the beach, is not acceptable, especially when signboards indicate as such. Fines for such offences are R 2500.00 and repeat offenders will be brought to book and arrests can be made by officials.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA): Oceans and Coast, issue special exemption permits for driving in the coastal zone. These are not permits issued by CapeNature nor do the above-mentioned Wildcards grant permission for driving in the coastal zone and none of the CapeNature entry permits qualify permitholders to drive in the coastal zone.
The Walker Bay Complex, managed by CapeNature, comprises of several nature reserves, the most popular being Walker Bay Nature Reserve and Uilkraalsmond Nature Reserve. These two reserves are popular fishing spots for avid fishermen. CapeNature encourages fishermen to enjoy the protected areas but lays an emphasis on all visitors to respect the reserve’s rules and regulations. Opening hours are from 07H00 to 19H00, with an entrance fee of R60 per adult and R40 per child are charged (these fees are revised annually). The use of Wildcards is permitted for those who have purchased the CapeNature Cluster or All Parks Cluster options. It is strongly advised that Wildcard holders ensure their Wildcards are valid for a hassle-free entry into the reserves. The renewal of these cards can be done at the CapeNature offices in Voelklip, Hermanus.
Visitors are encouraged to enjoy themselves and have a pleasant experience while visiting any of the CapeNature reserves, but the protection of biodiversity remains of utmost importance. The entity appeals to guests to respect nature and the laws in place and to adhere to the rules.
To report suspicious activity in the area contact 087 087 3841 during office hours or 076 480 0646 after hours. For more information visit www.capenature.co.za
CapeNature is a public institution mandated to promote and ensure biodiversity conservation within the Western Cape. The entity manages most of the mountain catchments and reserves that supply ecosystem services to the citizens of the Western Cape. This requires good scientific data, a sound understanding of fynbos ecology and commitment to the principles of integrated biodiversity management and planning. Most of this work is in remote areas out of the public eye but has a direct bearing on the quality of life of millions of people in the province.