Reserve security challenges

Marian Nieuwoudt, mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment

The Wolfgat Nature Reserve is an open nature reserve with Baden Powell Drive running through the reserve.

The public can access the nature reserve along this road and residents from Mitchell’s Plain walk through the nature reserve to the coast for fishing purposes.

Criminals use this road and the easy access to the reserve to hide their crimes.

Along Baden Powell Drive, there are valleys and ditches and the cliffs along the beach where what is disposed of cannot be seen and is well hidden from the public.

It is important to add that there have been previous discoveries of crimes taking place and body disposals along Baden Powell Drive from Muizenberg to the N2, and not only at the Wolfgat Nature Reserve. Regular police patrols are needed to assist with crime prevention.

The City cannot secure the reserve completely as it has open public access and a provincial road, Baden Powell Drive. Anyone travelling along Baden Powell Drive has unhindered access to the reserve.

We have safety security rangers that patrol the areas of the Wolfgat Nature Reserve and Macassar Dunes Conservation Area 24/7, but the area is vast and cannot be covered all of the time.

Wolfgat Nature Reserve staff are also present either working within the nature reserve or travelling on the road, and are visible but one cannot see everything, especially if the crime is hidden.

I want to reiterate that the SAPS is responsible for crime prevention and that regular patrols along this road will greatly assist.

We have always advised people to not stop along Baden Powell Drive as many people tend to do for sightseeing. Should people want to take a walk in the nature reserve, we advise them to contact our office so that we can provide a guided walk or assistance for safety purposes.

These bodies were found along the edges of Baden Powell Drive.

The bush is indigenous natural Strandveld vegetation and is deemed an endangered vegetation type. The landscape is dunes and the Wolfgat Nature Reserve is protected and proclaimed under the Protected Areas Act.

Dunes cannot be flattened, and indigenous vegetation cannot be removed. This is prohibited in the Protected Areas Act.

The only vegetation that we are annually removing and keeping under control is the invasive alien plant species.

We are in daily contact and work in partnership with the local community police forum and neighbourhood watch adjoining the Wolfgat Nature Reserve.

The Wolfgat Nature Reserve and the City’s nature conservation areas in general are not the problem. The problem is that criminals use these uninhabited spaces for their illegal activities where it is easy to hide and conceal crimes.