Jonkershoek access

Steve Chadwick,
Gantouw Hiking Club

As far as we can tell, access to Jonkershoek (Nature Reserve) is still available. The warning signs to motorists have been improved considerably.

Admin seems to
be now with MTO,
and CapeNature seems to have stepped back.

Reading between the lines, it would seem that the powers that be were overwhelmed by the outcry regarding the threat to close Jonkershoek access to vehicles, and as a result rescinded the closure notice.

Thanks everyone for their efforts, the petitions, open letters, contributions to CapeTalk discussions, etc.

The note that was sent out by CapeNature on November 27 stated that:

“The MTO Group and CapeNature appreciate your feedback and will embark on a stakeholder (public, interested groups etc.) engagement process at the beginning of December 2019 to allow for more structured information-sharing.

Effective December 1 2019, while we undertake a stakeholder engagement process, vehicles will be permitted into Jonkershoek Plantation with the following stipulations to help mitigate safety risks”.

I have mailed CapeNature regarding the follow-up consultations, with no response except for the resending to me of its November 27 notice.

Having chatted with many hikers, we rather think the status quo regarding Jonkershoek will continue as is.

The consensus of opinion also leans on the point that little or no maintenance will be carried out on the loop access road, which means that already, many saloon car
drivers will not make
the journey into the reserve.

I will politely
push CapeNature for
an update regarding
the finality of any position.

But also on the wider front, to try to persuade CapeNature to always include the hiking fraternity in the decision making process regarding the possible closure of our beloved hiking trails.

Witness the recent closure of many day hikes in Nuaberg with no consultation.

We would look for the CapeNature constitution and the relationship between CapeNature and
MTO.

We would look
for representation in
the decision-making process regarding trail access.

We would write to CapeNature requesting an initial meeting. Should it be so hard to meet with the authorities that control access to so many of our hikes?

Despite numerous emails requesting a response to Mr Chadwick’s letter dated January 9, at the time of going to print, neither CapeNature nor MTO had chosen to comment.