Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

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Andy Davies
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Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by Andy Davies » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:00 pm

Might be worthwhile for the climbing community to register as an interested party for the Cape Nature Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan. See link here https://www.capenature.co.za/call-comme ... ment-plan/

Next thing you know they might charge us to go climbing......
AndyDavies

mokganjetsi
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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by mokganjetsi » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:20 am

Good idea Andy! Will you champion it?

Main thing I'd like to see:
No school / kids organisational group hikes unless accompanied by a qualified, registered guide
Last edited by mokganjetsi on Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:02 am

mokganjetsi wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:20 am
No organisational group hikes
What exactly does that mean?

Legislation already exists for charging those responsible for fires (if found to be negligent etc etc)
Happy climbing
Nic

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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by mokganjetsi » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:52 pm

Nic Le Maitre wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:02 am
What exactly does that mean?

Legislation already exists for charging those responsible for fires (if found to be negligent etc etc)
it would mean that the Scouts, school groups etc are not allowed to hike there unless accompanied by a registered guide; and the guide will be liable (within reason) for damage done - which will necessitate rules like kids are not allowed to have matches, lighters etc. I hate draconian measures like this, but thus far there's been zero accountability or consequence for fires started by these types of groups.

hendriks
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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by hendriks » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:54 pm

mokganjetsi wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:20 am
Good idea Andy! Will you champion it?

Main thing I'd like to see:
No organisational group hikes unless accompanied by a qualified, registered guide who will assume liability for fires etc.
So you're saying, No mcsa meets, no hiking club groups, no UCT MSC groups etc. Sounds like a great idea :puker:

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Justin
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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by Justin » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:01 pm

hendriks wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:54 pm
mokganjetsi wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:20 am
Good idea Andy! Will you champion it?

Main thing I'd like to see:
No organisational group hikes unless accompanied by a qualified, registered guide who will assume liability for fires etc.
So you're saying, No mcsa meets, no hiking club groups, no UCT MSC groups etc. Sounds like a great idea :puker:
So whilst I understand what Mok is saying...

Not too long ago, a party of 3 (consisting of 2 respectable and very (very) experienced mountain goers and a trainee) were in the Drakensberg, and crap story... a fire was started.

Point is: A registered guide cannot hold the hands of people going to take a dump to ensure they don’t burn the place down (be awkward if there was more than 1 person going at the same time).

As a guide, there is no way I would assume (Fire) responsibility for a whole lot of kids armed with matches and pen knives !! How many guides per scouts/group numbers?? Just not going to happen.
Then if a fire did start... was intentional, was it an accident!??

FYI: I have not read the legislation yet.
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:08 pm

mokganjetsi wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:52 pm
Nic Le Maitre wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:02 am
What exactly does that mean?

Legislation already exists for charging those responsible for fires (if found to be negligent etc etc)
it would mean that the Scouts, school groups etc are not allowed to hike there unless accompanied by a registered guide; and the guide will be liable (within reason) for damage done - which will necessitate rules like kids are not allowed to have matches, lighters etc. I hate draconian measures like this, but thus far there's been zero accountability or consequence for fires started by these types of groups.
According to the National Veld and Forest Fire act (https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/de ... 122b_0.pdf):
26. (1) Any person who lights, uses or maintains a fire in the open air in contravention
of section 12(2) is guilty of a first category offence.
(2) Any person who, in the open air—
(a)leaves unattended a fire which he or she lit, used or maintained before that fire 5
is extinguished;
(b)lights, uses or maintains a fire, whether with or without permission of the
owner, which spreads and causes injury or damage;
(c)throws, puts down or drops a burning match or other burning material or any
material capable of spontaneous combustion or self-ignition and, by doing so, 10
makes a fire which spreads and causes injury or damage;
(d) lights, uses or maintains a fire in a road reserve—
(i) other than in a fireplace which has been designated by a competent authority; or
(ii) for a purpose other than the burning of a firebreak in terms of sections 14 15 to 18: or smokes where smoking is by notice prohibited,
is guilty of a second category offence
12.2) When the Minister has published a warning in terms of subsection (1)(b), no person may light. use or maintain a fire in the open air in the region where the fire danger is high,
Penalties
25. (1) A person who is guilty of a first category offence referred to in section 26 may 40
be sentenced on a first conviction for that offence to a fine or imprisonment for a period
of up to two years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment.
(2) A person who is guilty of a second category offence referred to in section 26 may
be sentenced on a first conviction for that offence to a fine or imprisonment for a period
of up to one year, or to both a fme and such imprisonment. 45
(3) A person who is guilty of a third category offence referred to in section 26 maybe
sentenced on a first conviction for that offence to a fine or community service for a
period of Up to six months, or to both a fine and such service.
(4) A person who is guilty of a second or third category offence may be sentenced on
a second conviction for that offence as if he or she has committed a first or second 50
category offence, respectively.
(5) A coufl which sentences any person to community service for an offence in terms
of this Act must impose a form of community service which benefits the environment if
it is possible for the offender to serve such a sentence in the circumstances.
You want to see someone punished, report them to the relevant fire protection officer.
Happy climbing
Nic

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:14 pm

The relevant fire protection officer would be Rika Du Plessis I believe, she'll be contactable through CapeNature's Algeria offices: 021 483 0190
Happy climbing
Nic

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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by mokganjetsi » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:17 pm

hendriks wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:54 pm
So you're saying, No mcsa meets, no hiking club groups, no UCT MSC groups etc. Sounds like a great idea
phew guys okay of course not. I wrote 2 lines in the 2 minutes i had. baseline is that we have groups of people (especially kids) doing their annual thingy in the Cederberg and they are not properly briefed, supervised or controlled. Hence 3 major fires in like, what, 8/10-years??
All the objections raised are reasonable and will require some proper thinking regarding what is workable and what not.
I am however saying the status quo cannot remain in force without disastrous fires occurring far more frequently than it should.
Justin wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:01 pm
As a guide, there is no way I would assume (Fire) responsibility for a whole lot of kids armed with matches and pen knives !
Fair point Justin I did not think that through. I however feel a guide worth his salt will be able control things a lot better than the current way it is done.
Nic Le Maitre wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:02 am
Legislation already exists for charging those responsible for fires (if found to be negligent etc etc)
with respect Nic the laws in this country is not worth the paper its written on. of course reporting illegal behavior will help, but preventative steps, self regulation and community safety enforcement is more where its at imho. see how toothless and ineffective law enforcement is on the likes of the TM chain.

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:10 am

@Mok

I share your frustrations with the Scouts, I love the Cederberg passionately and to lose access to some of its most beautiful areas for so long has been hard to stomach. I suspect the reason that the Scout group that started the fire was not prosecuted was that they are just kids, unfamiliar with the area and conditions and in their experience acting responsibly by trying to dispose of used toilet paper. The people at fault here are not the kids. The people at fault are the Scout Leadership, who after a few similar events, are still failing to adequately brief the kids beforehand. It would however be difficult to draw a chain linking the leadership, beyond reasonable doubt, to the fires.
mokganjetsi wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:17 pm
with respect Nic the laws in this country is not worth the paper its written on. of course reporting illegal behavior will help, but preventative steps, self regulation and community safety enforcement is more where its at imho. see how toothless and ineffective law enforcement is on the likes of the TM chain.
Believe me, the Veld and Forest Fire act penalty section gets a lot of use in South Africa. You can use it to get compensation for fire damage to your land in the event the fire crossed onto your property from a neighbor who had not taken adequate precautions. If this was a simple and easy case, it would have been prosecuted.

Adding yet another layer of admin to going hiking in a wilderness area is not going to help prevent this in future. Besides, as Justin says would guides assume that responsibility? Is it even legally possible to assume responsibility for the negligence of others?

The real way to address the problem is to force the Provincial Government to allocate more funding to CapeNature so that they can have adequate man power on hand to perform block burns in the pre-fire season. The veld has to burn to regenerate, and by burning blocks we can have a mosaic of different ages of vegetation and any unplanned fires can be much more easily controlled. We need SANParks to do the same thing on the Table Mountain chain but they are hamstrung by the good willed, but uninformed, public who can't stand the sight of their precious mountain burning.
Happy climbing
Nic

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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by hendriks » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:46 am

I agree the scout leaders really need to be held to account here.

That said, they do something amazing that very few people or groups do and that is giving kids exposure to the outdoors from a very young age. Surely that is not a bad thing.

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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by mokganjetsi » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:31 am

@Nic thanks for your thoughtful and comprehensive reply - I think we mostly agree.

I do however feel that the Scouts in particular has thoroughly earned any additional oversight, admin and costs that may go their way. I stand by my view that they (and similar kids / school groups) should be required to be accompanied by registered guides who will ensure that kids (& adults!) are properly briefed and that there's an additional layer of oversight. Seeing how ill-equipped they are (knowledge wise) I have no confidence in their response readiness for snake bites, lighting strikes, blunt force trauma etc. They need to be protected from their own lack of knowledge and preparation.
hendriks wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:46 am
they do something amazing that very few people or groups do and that is giving kids exposure to the outdoors from a very young age. Surely that is not a bad thing.
I agree. They just need some cost / consequences to take the risks as seriously as they should.

Landing my part in this conversation now. If somebody goes to the trouble to enter the engagement I hope they would raise this (not as the climbing community necessarily, but as people who care deeply about our last wilderness areas).

ant
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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by ant » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:00 am

Indeed, please lets err on encouraging use of the wilderness. There are enough rules, permits, regulations and red tape already.
There have been dozens of groups from Scouts, School groups, church groups +++ going there every year for decades.
I'm only aware of the most recent fire being causes by 'kids groups' (?) Certainly the Truitjies one was a baboon...

As a guide myself, I'm thoroughly against mandating a registered guide for access to an area.

I believe many of these groups require different permissions, and perhaps Cape Nature could do more to check that proper briefings are delivered as part of the conditions of these permits?
I'm Sure they are doing that already though.

Ant

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Re: Call for Comment: Cederberg Complex World Heritage Site Management Plan

Post by mokganjetsi » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:38 am

ant wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:00 am
There are enough rules, permits, regulations and red tape already.
with respect Ant i think just getting a permit is the minimum of red tape. the problem is that we have books full off rules and regulations that are being ignored. what is lacking is guidance and enforcement.

ofcourse there's valid objections against only regulating certain groups but i maintain the status quo, with increasing human traffic, will not do these wilderness areas any favors. anecdotally i have seen rocks littered with graffiti (from names to penises at the top out of the narrow crack - R100 bucks says its unsupervised teenagers); people adding their names to the historic records at stadsaal caves; people smudging and touching bushman rock art; multiple remains of campfires at crystal pools and some huts; rubbish dumps at crystal pools and sneeuberg hut etc. etc.
ant wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:00 am
I'm only aware of the most recent fire being causes by 'kids groups' (?
allegedly 3 major fires have been started by the Scouts the last 10-years or so. i do not have all the details.

lastly, seeing the amount of fires around the Algeria area the last few years it is clear that motorists and people who pass through is arguably a bigger cause of fires than hikers - for which problem I have no solution.

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