Make Groenkloof Nature Reserve Safe Now!
Over the past decade Groenkloof Nature Reserve has served as an Oasis for the urban soul. Hikers, Birders, Mountain Bikers, 4x4 enthusiasts, game viewers, trail runners and picnickers have all enjoyed the solitude of this game reserve in the middle of our busy city. Patrons knowing they can do so without a concern for their safety, other than the normal risks inherent with a visit to a park with free roaming wild animals. However, over the past two years a number of patrons to the Groenkloof Nature reserve have been attacked and robbed, mostly at knife point. These incidents have been increasing with dramatic effect with at least one attack a month since the beginning of this year. The latest attack on two female hikers on the weekend of 10th April 2016 had a very disturbing codicil to it where the assailants threatened to rape their victims, thankfully they were unharmed. What is more alarming this follows an attack on a couple the day before, which highlights the fact the current management team are not able to deal with the situation..
We can learn from history as to how this is going to play out, Fountains Reserve which is adjacent to Groenkloof has a network of excellent mountain bike and running trails which thanks to similar incidents are no longer being frequented by the users they were intended for. Due to the inactivity this trail are overgrown and in a state of disrepair and it appears that vagrants are starting to occupy the area. In the surrounding area is Klapperkop Nature Reserve which was facing a similar fate but this has been turned around thanks to a coordinated effort from residents, the Community Policing Forum, the South African Police, Hi Risk Security Unit, Friends of Groenkloof Nature Reserve and patrons. Klapperkop Nature reserve has seen a significant drop in crime but there is a concern that if the crime in Groenkloof is not addressed it will spill over into this reserve.
It is clear that if the appropriate action is not undertaken soon Groenkloof and Klapperkop will, like Fountains, be lost to the community of Tshwane and the people of Gauteng. Groenkloof is owned and managed by the City of Tshwane and to date we have seen no effective effort from the council to make the area safer for its patrons. It is also clear that the numbers of patrons visiting Groenkloof has declined dramatically and the viability of this attraction must be in question. The success enjoyed in Klapperkop shows that with the right will and the involvement of all sectors of the community this problem can be resolved, but council needs to take the lead. If you would like to see the council do their duty in making this area safe for all its users please sign the attached petition.
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