Development vs conservation of wild space in Joburg

I’m sad to have to report on two issues of development vs conservation happening right in our backyards.

The first one is in Krugersdorp. It’s the Proteadal area – the mountain ridges between Krugersdop and Roodepoort alongside the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. The only remaining wild and open land in that area which the wildlife, and in particular the famous Black Eagles, take refuge in from the ever-expanding Tuscan-style complex development that is taking over that area.

Views of Proteadal. Photo via Proteadal Conservation Association.

The second one is even closer to my home – it’s the extension of the K60 road in Sunninghill and Paulshof. It’s the Paulshof stretch that is of primary concern particularly because it is set to cut through a portion of the Rietfontein Nature Reserve, which is where the FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is based. The Nature Reserve is not big, but it is a perfect sanctuary for sick and injured wildlife that has taken the brunt of our ever-increasing march into their habitat.

Rietfontein Nature Reserve. Photo via City of Joburg.
Rietfontein Nature Reserve. Photo via City of Joburg.

I’m sure you know how I feel about the loss of open land – I am firmly on the side of conservation on this one. And before you start yelling “bunny-hugger” I’d like to point out that while yes, I am enormously concerned about the fate of the wildlife in these areas, but more so, I am also actually concerned about the limited amount of natural open areas in Joburg in general. It is neither sustainable nor good for us to pave over every bit of open land in our neighbourhoods all in the name of more houses and bigger roads. Believe it or not, we humans actually NEED open space.

More and more, researchers and scientists from many different disciplines are realising that humans need nature around them. It calms us. It also helps us in ways that we aren’t even aware of – like pollution control, insect and vermin control, water management. (Read this. )

It is incredibly short-sighted to demolish our small remaining tracts of open land. These areas should be protected as part of our natural heritage and be recognised for the many benefits they are already providing for humanity.

If you would like to get involved with supporting the conservation efforts of either of these two areas, here are the details:

Proteadal, Krugersdorp/Roodepoort

Join the Proteadal Conservation Association to help preserve the area. Membership is mere R10 per year. Email for more information.

You can follow them on Facebook and they are currently running an online petition which I encourage you to sign.

K60 extension, Paulshof/Sunninghill

For information about the EIA, see the map for the proposed extension or to participate as an Interested and Affected Party please download the documentation from either or . If you wish to apply as an AIP, you have until the end of the month – 30th April (ie: do it RIGHT NOW). I suggest keeping an eye on the FreeMe website and their Facebook page as well as the Paulshof Community website  or Sunninghill Community website for updates.

Keep your eyes on local newspapers too, as both of these issues have been written about in their areas.

4 thoughts on “Development vs conservation of wild space in Joburg

  1. How can we want parts of land kept pristine for enjoying nature while we don’t ever express a care about rampant population growth on a finite land mass of earth? Conservationists who are not worried about the absence of population control on all significant planning agendas deprive people of future living space. We need green, therefore we must find ethical, orderly ways of making sustainable conservation compatible with sensible breeding habits of our species.

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