The future of Conservation is in our hands and time has run out as urban sprawl engulfs those last green spaces and natural corridors. So, let’s join hands and create that world worthy of our children.
The Moepel Conservancy has been formed in our area of the Waterberg to do just that. It is an ambitious project and will be a game-changer when it comes to fruition. It will bring likeminded people together to network and share ideas about the environment and conservation. A potential area of 75,000 hectares has been identified.
What is a Conservancy?
In short, a conservancy is a registered voluntary association, established between landowners, residents and other users with the shared aim of managing their natural resources in an environmentally sustainable manner, without necessarily changing the land-use of their properties. In short it has no red tape or hidden agendas, no direct state involvement, but provides the platform for all residents to develop and benefit from a special area and to conserve it for posterity.
How will it work?
Many landowners in the proposed area have been approached and are interested in the concept. It is a voluntary organisation and the process of attracting more members will take time and depend on the successes achieved. It has its own Constitution and will be run by people in the area for the people in the area. Strict corporate governance will be applied. Most of the communication will be by way of social media to avoid the inconvenience of having meetings.
What are the benefits to me?
There are many very successful conservancies in the country. As with everything in life the more you put into it the more you will benefit. Amongst the many benefits are the following:
- Greater earnings potential through conservancy marketing and support
- Improved property values
- Less likelihood of land claims
- Poaching is reduced
- Security is improved
- Reduces illegal dumping
- EIA’s and ROD participation and monitoring
- Residents are assisted in taking appropriate action where environmental transgression occurs
- Collecting, building and sharing a database of information on important environmental aspects of the area
What has been already been done?
- The Moepel Conservancy has been already been formed and is registered with CIPRA as an NPC (number K2018485958).
- A savings bank account has been opened with Standard Bank. We have registered with the National Association of Conservancies and Stewardship of South Africa (NACSSA).
- An attractive and representative logo has been designed by a local company.
- Application has been made to the Department of Social Development for the Moepel Conservancy to become a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO).
- An agreement for the core area has been drafted and is currently being reviewed by a leading firm of attorneys.
- The first Newsletter has been sent to people in the area.
- A web domain has been reserved under moepelconservancy.org.za.
- After we obtain NPO status we will be applying to SARS for patrons to reap tax benefits for bona fide donations to the Moepel Conservancy.
- A Facebook site will be established as will a WhatsApp site.
- There are many more exciting developments in the pipeline.
What will it cost me?
Initially nothing! In due course a committee will be elected from amongst patrons (another name for members), and, depending on what the community decides they want to achieve they may decide or find it necessary to impose levies. Otherwise patrons are free to donate and if we are successful with our application to SARS they will benefit by enjoying tax deductions.
Which farms fall within the Moepel Conservancy?
The following map sets out the proposed area for the conservancy:
The broader area coloured in green covers about 63,000 hectares and is called the buffer zone. The owners of these properties will not necessarily change the land-use of their properties. They will continue doing what they do and will remain responsible for their own properties as they have done. However, they will reap the benefits offered by a conservancy.
The area in red is the core zone. The initial core area is expected to be 12,500 hectares. To become a patron of the core area:
- The property needs to be a recognised Nature Reserve in terms of the Protected Areas Act; or
- Must be a property adjacent to the core area and the owners need to agree to drop fences between that property and the core area as well as apply for Nature Reserve status; and
- The owners must agree to enter into an agreement with existing adjoining core area members regarding such things as traversing rights, access, hunting, fences, wildlife management, etc.
Discussions have already been held with LEDET to simplify the transition to Nature Reserve status.
What do I need to do?
This is a voluntary organisation. If you are interested in joining (and we sincerely hope you will be!) kindly complete the Patron Form and return it to Brad Algar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 078 779 8974.
Name: Moepel Conservancy
Bank: Standard Bank
Type: Savings account
Reference: Your Name & farm
The experts have all advised us that it is a solid plan, to keep it as simple as possible and to accept that it will be a long-term process that will evolve.