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eThekwini Municipality, through a collaborative process with the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD), Municipality’s Housing and Parks Leisure and Cemeteries Departments, ward councillor, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and residents of the surrounding areas, plans to have the Roosefontein Nature Reserve declared a nature reserve  area under the National Environmental Management:  Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act 57 of 2003). This process will ensure that the area is formally protected as a national asset by legislation.

The collaborative process has ensured that two portions of the land will also be set aside for housing (social housing near Chesterville Extension and middle to upper income housing near Dawncliffe), while the existing conservation area will be expanded.  The reserve provides important recreational opportunities to local communities, and local people are employed to undertake environmental management work. 

This case study provides an excellent example of the synergies that may be found between different interest groups. In this case, parts of the area will be developed for housing, while a significant part will be set aside for environmental protection, but in a way that directly benefits adjacent communities through job creation and recreational value.

Current Status of Project
The Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department has already had the area rezoned (other than for the portion to be developed for social housing which will ultimately be rezoned to suit that purpose) and is now in the process of having it proclaimed as a nature reserve. An environmental management plan will be developed for the nature reserve as part of the proclamation process.

The involvement of EPCPD is on a number of fronts:

  • Rezoning of Roosefontein Nature Reserve to an environmental conservation zone (completed);
  • EPCPD is working in with eZemvelo KZN Wildlife towards having Roosefontein  declared a  nature reserve in terms of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act;
  • Implementation of a sustainable development initiative, which is creating green jobs and developing skills in neighbouring communities to undertake environmental management including control of invasive alien plants;
  • Formally linking the Roosefontein and Paradise Valley conservation areas. The proximity of the reserve to the Chesterville and Westville communities provides an amazing opportunity for recreation and outdoor education, something that has so far been lacking in many of these communities.

Future Activities
The EPCPD will work with the local community through the ward councillor and ward committee to ensure that the nature reserve is developed in a way that benefits the local community, for example through the employment of community members to be involved in the management of the reserve. One of the plans is to build a visitor/resource centre so that communities benefit directly from the presence of this open space.