MCSA members Mountain Sanctuary Park privileges revoked

Dear Members,

We regrettably have to inform you that the MCSA’s access through the Mountain Sanctuary Park (MSP) office and their rest-camp has been terminated from 29th March 2016.  This means that MCSA members will be treated as normal guests and have to pay the full day visitor entry fee. (R100/pp + R35/car on entrance) As a limited number of people are permitted entry per day, pre-bookings are essential.

Why has the entry agreement been terminated? Unfortunately the poor behaviour of a few members and disregard for MSP rules has precipitated this event. (A summary is provided below) Following another incident on the evening of 19th March the owners made a decision to terminate the longstanding agreement we have with them. MCSA entry into many areas has been won through many years of hard work and mutual respect. We urge all members and their guests to show respect towards landowners, as well as their staff, and not get into arguments. Rather bring these issues to the committee who can then follow a diplomatic process to hopefully resolve such matters. Any brash action on your part could potentially jeopardise access for the rest of us.

The Land & Access Committee is working hard to re-establish MCSA access, but this may take some time, the outcome of which we cannot pre-empt. Our legal access through Utopia is also being updated and we will notify members when this is finalised. The kloofs in this area can of course still be accessed through the servitude on the southern side of the mountain as well from Calabash from the north. There are strict rules and agreements pertaining to these – please make yourself fully aware of these before utilising.

Johannesburg & Magaliesberg MCSA Committees

Reasons behind the deterioration in our relationship with MSP

Arriving with outdated MCSA stickers. Your MCSA card, with the latest sticker indicating that you have paid your membership fees is your passport to access Club properties and other benefits.

You always have to carry this with you and present it when requested to. On a number of occasions MCSA members have arrived at MSP without the latest sticker and then elect to argue with their staff.

The view is that some MCSA members are rude and perceive themselves more important than others. Upon arrival at the MSP office, these members push past other guests, sign the MCSA register and then just quickly pass their money over to whoever is at reception, without consideration as to whether they are busy.

Leaving late when the MSP front gate is locked, i.e., after 18h30 in summer and 17h30 in winter.

Arriving after the office has closed (generally around 17h00).  Members then enter the rest camp without paying the parking fee or entering their details in the MCSA office register.

Hiking to MCSA land after hours.  For security and safety reasons, MSP forbids their guests from hiking out at night. It thus undermines these rules we arrive after dark (after the office has closed ….) and then head out with headlights on for all to see.

Poor driving.  Speeding on the rest camp roads and heading up the one-way. Members often resort to the latter when the boom at the office has been lowered.

MSP emphasise the Sanctuary aspect of their name and attract visitors who appreciate this.

Loud music, respect for nature and other guests is therefore promoted. Recently a member ignored this rules and then elected to argue with MSP who raised these issues with him.

Parking. We should park outside in the parking lot – other locations, such as the area in front on the ablution block, are not permissible.

Our parking fee allows us to park on MSP property and hike across to Cedarberg. What is found is that some members hike on MSP property, use the swimming pool or the showers upon returning from a day out. If we wish to use these facilities we are requested to pay the full entry fee.

24 Responses to MCSA members Mountain Sanctuary Park privileges revoked

  1. BAbcoat Mar 30, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    Name and Shame !!

    Everyone knows the rules. This is a case of a few bad apples ruining important access for everyone else.

    If the club doesn’t have consequences for this action, we’ll continue to lose valuable resources.

  2. Logic Mar 30, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    I just pray Ebert was not involved in any way!

  3. Ebert Nel Mar 30, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

    Logic, FUCK YOU. This is the classic MCSA Jhb/magalies member elitist attitude that skrewed themselves over now. Leave me out of this. I love the crags. MCSA costing Gauteng a 2nd crag in less than 6 months. CLASSIC:'(

    Agreed, with BAbcoat, name the fools. Burn them at the stake and ask for access at regular rates back.



    • Logic Mar 30, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

      Slow down Ebert, it was meant as a joke, I apologise for not making it more obvious by using some emoticon.

      • Warren Gans Mar 31, 2016 at 9:22 am #

        I don’t know: when I read Logic’s comment I see no reason why Ebert should be offended- I would hope that none I know was responsible for this, Ebert included. Fortunately this has nothing to do with Ebert, what a relief. I could understand Eberts offence if Logic had said it in a more offensive manner, but I don’t see how this is the case- I would argue the tone of Logic’s comment was defensive of a friend.

        Logic, if you think about it Ebert has stated previously how he isn’t a member of MCSA, and so it couldn’t have been him. Clearly whenever he goes to MCSA property it is as a guest of a member.

        I do agree that here should either be a name and shame, or some kind of internal disciplinary hearing on the topic. MCSA has proven to be very good at executing such proceedings in the past (disciplinary hearings that is), and no doubt if they know who caused so much embarrassment for the club they will address it- they need to for the sake of the relationship with the MSP.

        • Logic Mar 31, 2016 at 9:47 am #

          Thanks Warren, and I am genuinely relieved that Ebert has no involvement in this particular matter.

  4. Oubaas Mar 30, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

    Me thinks Ebert does protest too much😆

  5. micky Mar 31, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    dont see the point of grilling an oke before you have proof. could have been someone completely different

    • Logic Mar 31, 2016 at 11:56 am #

      No accusations nor any inferences of any potential involvement were made, Micky. Not sure how any “oke” was grilled here, except perhaps implicitly the “okes” other than the “oke” whom was himself not involved?

  6. micky Mar 31, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    haha ya the okes involved are nobs and should face some sort of consequence i guess. But lets not name people who might or not be involved unless we know its them

  7. mokganjetsi (Willem B) Mar 31, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

    well there’s always a few ***holes that can ruin access for everybody. hence we should adopt a zero tolerance approach and promptly gun down any trespassers / gate-crashers / litter-shits. or at least confront them.

  8. Greg Mar 31, 2016 at 3:40 pm #
    MCSA Vision comments on this forum
    Can almost understand why a club would want a screening of potential members but then it is seen as too difficult to join or as a bunch of elitists. Tough one.

  9. Bennie Mar 31, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

    This whole reaction by MSP makes no sense at all. If a member does not have the latest sticker he is not a member anymore, right? MSP never gave a headsup about the transgressions (that I am aware off). And how will charging people R100 going to make it any better. They will still speed and leave late. And how do they know they were speeding, did they have cameras, and maybe it was MSP guests. The culprits must be identfied and banned, not charged R100 and all is OK.

    All MCSA members I know are thoughtfull and considerate, this SURELY cannot be as widespread as they claim. So its CLEARLY all about the money. On several occasions in the last 2 years they tried to charge me R100 in spite of the MCSA arrangement.

    Me thinks MCSA should charge MSP visitors R100 for their guest to hike the kloofs. Without those hikes MSP is a sad place to visit. In fact MCSA should threaten MSP with a full-on ban from its property.

    • Stacy Apr 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

      just wanted to clarify, that its not just about the fees, its about signing in as a guest, under MSP’s rules and regulations, and accepting those terms as a guest of the sanctuary. we don’t see it as unreasonable to ask people to pay a fee to use the property and the facilities as it costs money to maintain both. the issue at hand is the overall attitude concerning protected areas, staff members, the rules of the sanctuary and the increased disregard shown to all of the above.
      No one should enter MCSA property for free, and anyone that does should be dealt with harshly, regardless of who they are, including our own guests, this is made perfectly clear. our guests pay for permits, the same as everyone else.
      its unfortunate that it came to this, and that members who have the right attitude feel punished in some way, but no one is stopping those from coming through MSP as usual, the booking procedure has just changed. as members of MCSA we would hope that a mutual respect and understanding for the rules and regulations and the necessary changes concerning both properties, be a given.
      unfortunately the issues at hand are not few and far between, and have escalated over time, it is now with a great team that we are able to start making a difference that will hopefully benefit everyone in the long run, in the meantime its only fair that everyone receive the same treatment, pay the same fees, and are booked in under the same conditions.

      • Bennie Apr 8, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

        Thanks Stacy for the calm response, even though my comment was a bit heated. You have a point that everyone gets dealt with in exactly the same way. That way it is simple and easy to manage. Unfortunately for me, the R100 just for the walk-through is not worth it.

  10. Dirk Talma Apr 1, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    I wish this was an April fools joke!

    Here are my comments regarding the reasons:
    1. I have never been asked to provide my MCSA card. Not once. I just open the book, write down my membership number in the book and pay. And come on, the office at MSP is not that busy. Its not like the cable way queue.
    2. Over the years, this has happened previously when I was late. Both times I called the ranger, who gave me the number of the field ranger who has the keys. Once I picked him up at his house, drove him to the gate and then to the shebeen down the round to buy him a round. They have always appreciated this. Sometimes it happens that you are late, just accept that you have wronged and try to make up for it.
    4. This is the first time I hear of this.
    7. We always parked under the tree next to the ablutions when your car is staying over night. This has been a longstanding rule and I have never been shown otherwise by any staff of MSP.

    This is very unfortunate. The MSP walk-in was really great, especially if you wanted to get to Cederberg.

  11. Bennie Apr 1, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    To add to my previous post, I camped at MSP on numerous occasions and I promoted their facility to tens of parties.

    It would be very easy for MSP to find the minority culprits and fine or ban them, the MCSA numbers are in the book. By charging the R100 across the board, they are saying that all MCSA members are guilty as charged.

    As off yesterday I am in a complete boycott of MSP and I will discourage my friends and family from visiting. Many other options exist in the area.


  12. Grant Rens MCSA JHB Chairman Apr 1, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    Gentlemen this is not a witch hunt (or a pick on Ebert Session) this is a ban imposed by MSP based on their view that the MCSA members as a whole have not respected their rules.

    The MCSA has a Land and Access commitee that is negotiating with Mountain Sanctuary and I believe that they will do a good job and that we should leave them to do that job.

    What would be unwise is to all get upset and behave in a punitive way towards MSP. Lets all not get our knickers in a knot and make the situation worse. Lets rather be mature and listen to what MSP are trying to say to us as a club and undertake some reforms to restore the good will between the MCSA and MSP.

    It may seem like fun to debate a “he said, she said” internet argument but in the long run this is unhelpful.

    For now I appeal to all MCSA members to do as requested above and use the other means of access or book and pay the full fees. Please do not engage with MSP in a negative way as I am sure that for the most part it is the behaviour of a few that have jeopordised it for the many and once we as a club have reassured and reinforced MSP’s rules that the good relationship can be restored.

    So I appeal to all MCSA members to behave sensibly and responsibly when dealing with all landowners.

    • mokganjetsi (Willem B) Apr 4, 2016 at 9:11 am #

      what grates me though, as with TMNP, is that climbers are always the ones that has to stand hat-in-the-hand, as if our love for the mountains is something we should apologise for. I can understand if MSP decides to revert to full-price for MCSA members on the basis of needing income and therefore revoking the privilege; but their reason smacks of hypocrisy and the one-sidedness of their decision is also not on.

  13. Deanvdm Apr 2, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    I agree with Grant there is a process to constructively engage with MSP and that we should understand that MSP regrettably has good reason to be upset. Regardless, we need to stick to the rules and do not be confrontational with any landowners (Bronkies, Chosspile, Grootkloof, etc.) as it is bound to lead to the whole climbing community being affected by a few inconsiderate climbers/hikers.

    However please note that the MCSA has legal access to Tonquani area (it owns most of it and has legal arrangements for accessing the remainder) so the crag is not “lost” this notice just affects one of the more convenient ways to access the Tonquani kloofs and crags.

  14. Herman Apr 4, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Thanks Grant and land access committee for your efforts. I hope you can restore the relationship.

    I can vouch for what Dicky said, I’ve also never been asked for my card/sticker. It’s probably because they know me. The parking issue is also a load of bolloks. Everyone knows about the long standing arrangement to park near the ablution block, especially if you stay overnight. MSP asked me personally to park there instead of in the day visitor parking lot. They shouldn’t make up bullshit stories like that. If you don’t want to keep with your own bloody arrangement, then say so, don’t create a fuss and “ban” everyone. The story about the MCSA people jumping the queue at the office is also nonsense, I’ve never seen anyone do that. We always wait our turn. That’s how queues work.

    I’m not making excuses for the dumb ass who messed it up for the rest of us, but if you take a grumpy MCSA guy and add the new grumpy MSP guy at their office, then you’re bound to end up with a fight. That being said, I’ve never seen any MCSA person being anything but polite to the MSP people. Personally I’ve used their facilities at the pool for my (and a friend’s) birthday, but we’ve arranged well in advance with MSP and we paid the day visitor fee. It’s not that difficult. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the relationships with all the people we have access arrangements, but it is also our responsibility to intervene/correct/help when we see someone not doing so. In the mean time I’m not going to help MSP to rescue their guests or help them in the right direction anymore, as I’ve done numerous times in the past. In the past I’ve also encountered MSP guests without permits on MCSA land. I’ve explained that they need permits, and why. They’ll get a map for instance, so chances are at least better that they won’t get lost. Instead of marching them right off our property, I showed them the nicest direction to go to get back to MSP while getting a nice hike as well. We’ve encountered a bunch of shitheads the other day, asking us how to get an “adventure”. We showed them a nice route to hike and told them what to do and where to be careful as to not endanger the girls with them (I honestly didn’t care about the brave young hothead morons’ safety). Sure enough we later saw the guys scrambling up a third of the height of the cliff at the Cedarberg junction. I’m not going to tolerate hooligan MSP guests like that anymore, they’ll be escorted off our land and I’ll inform MSP and MCSA. I’ll obviously still honor our side of the agreement with guest with permits and being polite to MSP staff if I encounter them. It’s easy to be an asshole, I’ll at least try to be a fair one.

    • Stacy Apr 8, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

      Herman, on behalf of MSP I would like to say thank you, for going out of your way to help other hikers and for booking and arranging when you want to use the facilities and I completely agree that if you ever see a bunch of hooligans again, that you should report them, or escort them off the property, or both, as without permits they are not supposed to be on MCSA property, and guests are informed of that, so they have what’s coming to them!
      it is people like you, with a genuine love for the mountains and a respect for nature, that we welcome and that im sure MCSA is proud to have as a member. so thank you.
      we don’t want hooligans of any kind, on MSP or MCSA property, in fact we go out of out way to stop such behaviour, but its a large property and every inch cant be monitored by us alone, so guests like you that make an effort, make it possible to keep such people out.
      we did indeed at one stage let guests park across from the ablutions and behind the office, to offer shade and extra security if staying over, this was done as a courtesy to guests when we were able to do so
      the layout of the buildings and office has changed, and so this is no longer possible, however as you said, it should be a case of people respecting the change, not a fight with everyone that doesn’t see it that way. there have been a number of issues concerning MCSA members and doing things the way we have in the past, is just not working as a general rule, if it was few and far between then we could take a different approach, however its not, and this is the solution we find right now will make the most difference.
      slight changes have had to be made, but we are not banning MCSA members from MSP, we are simply enforcing the booking, payment and signing in procedure as we do with all other guests, in the hope that we can better monitor the situation. this is not an attack on MCSA members, we are all trying to find a way, to make things work, for all concerned and im confident that we will accomplish that in the long run

    • Christo Croukamp Dec 24, 2018 at 11:55 am #

      Well said!

      We wanted to join MSP . Now we will not… it is very obvious they are unprofessional and lack integrity.

  15. Gary Apr 5, 2016 at 8:27 am #

    Even before this ban was put in place, a small hiking group that i am a part of that takes novice hikers out to explore the magaliesburg, has decided to no longer support MSP due to the rudeness and arrogance of their staff. Out off our group, I am the only MCSA member (never mentioned this, was going as a normal MSP guest), and we were only going to hike in MSP, but due to the front desk staffs attitude to our group booking and then just cancelling our booking (23 people) because we queried the rate stated on the website and what they were charging us without any further discussion. we would have gladly paid the extra R15 each if they had just been civil and explained the problem instead of saying “You know it costs a lot of money to run a private nature reserve and we have a lot of people happy to pay the R100”

    And reading through reviews on MSP, This is not an isolated incident. We even made contact with the owner after the event to try and rectify the situation and salvage our relationship with MSP, they apologized about what happened, but would not be doing anything to resolve the issues.

    MSP is a beautiful hiking area, but until they resolve the attitudes of many staff members I have encountered there, we will be choosing different venues for our trips that are happy to have us, and have staff that are decent and respectful and have handled our bookings and occasional query in a professional manner.

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