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Thousands sign petition to safeguard Wonderboom nature reserve

Ward councillors and CPF members, with support from a group of residents, is fighting to protect the 200-hectare reserve. Residents have complained many times of illegal squatters and crime has increased in the area.

A petition to safeguard Wonderboom nature reserve and reservoirs is gathering momentum as more than 1 780 people have added their signatures.

Ward councillors and CPF members, with support from a group of residents, are fighting to protect the 200-hectare reserve.

Sinoville ward 50 councillor Lenise Breytenbach is urging residents to get behind the campaign and sign the petition.

She said residents have complained many times of illegal squatters and that crime has increased in the area.

“Due to the squatters, over the past year, three huge fires have broken out – the last being at the end of July which caused huge damage to the reserve.

“We are here to serve and protect the community.

“In the near future, we intend to install more lighting in the reserve and patrol the area on a more regular basis to repair the fencing that is cut, to prevent squatters from accessing the reserve,” said Breytenbach.

Breytenbach said that they had received inquiries before about the number of game that has drastically decreased over the past years.

“I cannot say for sure, but it could be that squatters kill the game for food purposes.

“One of the reasons why the petition is so close to our heart, is to make the community aware of what is going on around them, to be more vigilant and by starting an awareness campaign as well as to get everyone involved.

“The CPF will go above and beyond to ensure the safety of our community and restore the reserve to it’s full potential.”

CPF chairperson Magriet van der Merwe said the Magaliesberg is a beautiful beacon and asset for residents who live on its slopes but unfortunately criminals also use the mountain as a vantage point, shelter and to gain access to premises.

“We had two reported break-ins in a period of 24-hours over the weekend in Dirk van Deventer Road and Tecoma Street.

“Residents have also reported occasional suspicious movement of suspected criminals,” said Van der Merwe.

For the past 30 years, some of the residents’ children who go to school at HTS John Vorster use the mountain as a pathway to to school.

“House robbers are using the mountain to their advantage.

“It is therefore essential that we act quickly and proactively. We cannot cede the mountain to criminals to give them territorial advantage and thus put the safety of our residents and especially our children at risk,” she added.

Breytenbach said the goal of the petition is to also get the support and co-operation of the metro in promoting safety.

This coming Saturday, the community, led by Sinoville CPF Sector 1 will identify vulnerable points of the mountain and also reclaim it for residents.

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