D-Day for Cape Town

Christopher Kirkman, Friends of Radloff Park (FORP)

FORP values its good relationship with the owner and management of Morgenster Estate. It should be noted that the boundary of Morgenster Estate extends well into the Radloff Park side of the river.

This means that our use of a certain extent of the river itself is by kind courtesy of Morgenster Estate, the owner and management of which are happy that users of the park are able to enjoy the river.

However, this enjoyment comes with some important responsibilities on our part.

Two issues have recently become a problem that need urgent attention. Firstly, it has become a practice for some users of the park to allow their dogs to cross the weir at the Morgenster gate and enter freely to roam into the estate – often running right up to the manor house and admin building. People have even accompanied their animals on foot.

This is a violation of privacy, as that part of the estate is not open to the public.

In order that we continue to be allowed the privilege that we presently enjoy, the FORP committee appeals to all users of the park to stop allowing free access of their animals and themselves to that part of Morgenster – we don’t want to find that our access to the river be restricted in future.

The second problem comes about as a result of the drought.

Apart from our own observations, management of Morgenster have reported that bakkies and trucks have been arriving at the weir, especially at night, to fill up large tanks for commercial reasons.

A FORP committee member has re-installed a boom next to the Morgenster gate, thereby preventing access of vehicles to the park at that end of it.

Please note that every citizen has the legal right to take a small quantity (somewhere around 25 litres) daily from any river, until the river flow reaches a pre-determined minimum flow to maintain the ecology of the area, after which point no off-take from the river is permissible.

However, the right to draw larger quantities of water requires a licence (which has replaced the now outdated riparian rights).

It should be noted that as the Lourens River enjoys both Protected Area and Protected Natural Environment status, further restrictions to this river in particular may apply.

FORP requests all park users to keep an eye out for people abusing this water resource – if possible take a picture of vehicle registration numbers.

Kindly communicate this information to friendsofradloffpark@gmail.com – we will alert the appropriate authorities.

As a voluntary body with no legislative powers, other than those enjoyed by every citizen, FORP can only appeal to and educate its membership and the public in general.

FORP cannot take any responsibility for policing and monitoring Radloff Park and the Lourens River, and thus cannot be held accountable should these and other unfortunate and unwelcome activities persist.

FORP will, however, continue to campaign and lobby on behalf of the users of the park and the river, and to support the sustainable and responsible use and enjoyment of these areas and features by the public.

This will be done through important and ongoing collaboration with partners such as the Lourens River Conservation Society (LRCS), as well as representation on civil bodies such as the Lourens River Protected Area Advisory Committee and the Ward 84 committee (either directly or via other structure and individuals).

You can assist by sharing this information more widely.

Thank you for helping us maintain both excellent relationships with the landowners and governmental agencies, as well as with fellow users of the park and river.