The owners of Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve in Ceres have been ordered to cease activities on the reserve and the neighboring Valschgat Kloof farm, and to stop snow tourists driving up the mountain.
An investigation into the allegations of pollution and degradation of the environment was conducted after a complaint was received from a member of the public last year.
The Western Cape environmental affairs and development planning department said highly sensitive altimontane fynbos was destroyed after a mountainside was bulldozed to build a car park for snow sightseers.
Additional damage was caused by the use of informal roads in areas with a highly sensitive botanical ecosystem and threatened plant species.
“Our inspectors [Green Scorpions] have confirmed that significant pollution and/or degradation of this highly sensitive environment has taken place,”
“Therefore the directive in terms of section 28(4) of the National Environmental Management Act was issued to the owners to prevent and/or minimise the pollution and/or degradation from continuing,” said spokesperson Rudolf van Jaarsveldt.
Owners of the reserve have been instructed to:
- Immediately cease the activities that have damaged the environment.
- Cease all vehicular driving activities not related to protea harvesting on the road.
- Submit a rehabilitation plan for the 4×4 roads and parking area within 30 days
Attorneys West & Rossouw, representing Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve, said the nature reserve would not comply with the directive until their concerns about the situation were addressed by the department.