Plans to install CCTV cameras in eThekwini nature reserves
Burman Bush Nature Reserve (Photo: City Seeker)
"Surveillance cameras could become a feature in all eThekwini’s nature reserves, as one of many measures the city is considering to beef up security at reserves that have been become hunting grounds for criminals."
Thembinkosi Ngcobo, eThekwini’s head of parks and recreation, made the announcement at a conference dealing with the challenges facing the city.
He said the city would first install the cameras at Burman Bush and see how successful they were. This could then be extended to other reserves in the municipal district.
Public safety at the city’s nature reserves came under the spotlight after the murder of KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra member Simon Milliken at Burman Bush last month.
Ngcobo proposed that nature reserves should no longer be open 24 hours a day, but instead have set operating hours.
Kenneth Mabila, the manager of the natural services division, said there were other challenges they faced at the reserves aside from security.
One was that of people burying the dead in the reserves.
“In Trenance Park, Verulam, we have a lot graves,” Mabila said.
He said they were torn between respecting the dead and maintaining a nature reserve.
Mabila said there were currently 17 reserves in the municipality, but only 10 had been proclaimed so far.
Being proclaimed as a reserve meant that the area was protected and it could not be developed. Mabila said the provincial and national governments would play a role to ensure their protection.
Another challenge the city faced was a lack of rangers, said Mabila.
There was currently a staff complement of 20 rangers for all the reserves in eThekwini - a far cry from the 90 the city needed.
In the meantime, fences would be built around some of the reserves. According to Mabila, the city is planning to build a fence worth R6million at Trenance Park, while in Silverglen, which has become a target for land invasions, a R9m fence is on the cards.
Ngcobo said New Germany’s nature reserve would be completed by next week. They are planning to introduce 10 zebra to attract people to the facility.
Among the other challenges facing the city that was discussed at the conference was illegal sand mining, said Mabila.
He said that although he supports development and construction, the manner in which it is sometimes done is worrying.
Erosion causes many ecological problems, such as sand being swept away during flooding and filling up dams.
Sand was also being mined from beaches.
If left unchecked, water would encroach further inland and reduce the size of beaches, which would negatively impact on tourism, he said.