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A meeting has been called for today to plot a way forward for Kloofendal Nature Reserve. All interested parties are invited to attend.
THE future of Joburg’s western idyll, Kloofendal Nature Reserve, hangs in the balance. It is facing a number of problems in terms of preservation, and a public meeting has been called for 11 April to discuss concerns and to plot a way forward.

The stampmills at KloofendalThe stampmills at KloofendalResidents are invited to attend the meeting, which will be held at the Florida Civic Centre, to discuss the state and management of the reserve. It was organised by ward councillor Carl Mann in association with the Friends of Kloofendal, an open conservation non-governmental organisation (NGO) that focuses on the needs of the reserve.

“Amongst our concerns are the ecological management of the reserve, lost opportunities for environmental education and the impact of parties that break open space by-laws,” says Karin Spottiswoode, from Friends of Kloofendal.

Also high on the agenda is forging a working partnership with City Parks, Johannesburg’s greening agency and custodian of the city’s open and green spaces. “Of concern is that Johannesburg City Parks tolerates rather than supports the Friends of Kloofendal’s work in the reserve,” Spottiswoode says.

This is why City Parks will be involved in the meeting, where future plans and a way forward for Kloofendal will be presented to the community.

All residents are invited to attend, but are asked to confirm attendance with the Friends of Kloofendal by emailing, phoning Karin or Steve Spottiswoode on 011 674 2980, the Friends of Kloofendal office on 079 693 5608, chairperson Roland Cundill on 083 643 5478 or secretary Sheryl Fox on 082 926 2530.

Kloofendal Nature Reserve is located approximately 25 kilometres west of the city centre, on a pristine 150 hectares of rolling hills and verdant vegetation. It is home to about 53 species of indigenous trees, 60 species of grass and 97 species of birds; it also boasts mountain reedbucks, duikers and small antelopes, among other wildlife.

The reserve also holds a special place in Joburg history: it was the first place on the Witwatersrand where gold was discovered and was originally called Confidence Reef by the Struben brothers, Harry and Fred, who discovered the gold in 1884. The gold soon ran dry, but the mineshaft is still there to bear testament to its place in history; it can only be visited on guided tours run by Friends of Kloofendal.

It was reserved as a protected wilderness area by the city council in 1972, and has functioned as a nature reserve ever since. All activities and events, such as guided tours of the Confidence Reef mine and invasive vegetation blitzes, are organised by the Friends of Kloofendal.

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