MCF is proud to partner with WWF-SA in the Midlands and we welcome the opportunity to raise awareness of the value of grasslands, which are the first to go when any development is planned, as they ‘appear’ to have no purpose.
This letter from WWF-SA CEO Morne du Plessis asks for your support ahead of World Water Day on Friday.
The proposed Pongola Bush Protected environment is under threat from many unsustainable practices, including coal mining. This area (about 9250 ha) is on the verge of declaration as the first Protected Environment in the Northern KwaZulu-Natal area. This region is home to some of the most important and intact grasslands and strategic water source areas in our country. With your support, we can bolster efforts to declare these conservation areas.
We believe that you can make a difference by having your say about this before 22 March and help protect some of the country’s most important grassland areas and “water factories”.
A recent analysis by WWF indicates that only 8% of South Africa’s land surface generates 50% of our rainfall run-off; much of this overlaps with abundant coal resources. Our Enkangala Grasslands Programme works in the headwaters of the Vaal, Pongola and Tugela to protect these remote areas from threats to water and biodiversity. This strategic water source area, spanning the high altitude grasslands between KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State, provides clean, potable water for Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, including several major power stations.
Stewardship partners and landowners have already shown commitment in securing this area of irreplaceable biodiversity value, picturesque natural landscape and water security. We ask you to now do the same.
The intention to declare these areas has been published in the Government Gazette. Protection Environment status will assure effective management and protection of this threatened area.
Please help us by supporting conservation and livelihoods through your actions! Make your voice heard online and/or write a letter. You may also send your signed letter to us by email or fax (+27 086 628 7518). The deadline for submissions is 22 March 2013.
There is global recognition of the cultural and natural importance of the Grasslands through the establishment of three World Heritage Sites, namely the Cradle of Humankind, uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, and the Vredefort Dome.
Our grasslands include about 3370 plant species. The term “grassland” creates the impression that the biome consists only of grass species. In fact, only one in six plant species in the biome is a grass.
The area is home to several animal species, including 15 (or 45%) of South Africa’s endemic mammal species, 10 globally threatened bird species, 52 of the country’s 122 Important Bird Areas, and some endemic fish species