Committee Feedback

For up-to-date news, activities and calendar of events please visit  

This biodiversity stewardship project aims to provide formal conservation protection for the area of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, and beyond. 

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Committee Feedback

The committee is elected at the annual general meeting of members.    Here you can find out what the committee is working on.

Report of the Acting Chair: AGM: August 2013

Report of the Acting Chair:  AGM:  August 2013


From the Chairman - Feb 2011

Looking back at the past decade, and looking forward – where are we heading with the Conservancy and where do we want to be heading!


Update - April

The Conservancy committee is tasked with promoting the Conservancy - what it stands for, its aims, what is done to conserve and protect the area and what activities take place.  These efforts go beyond the Calendar Events or engaging with officials and other conservation organisations.  We also use electronic media, where the success of our efforts can be reliably measured.  Rhenosterspruit is becoming well-known, not only in Gauteng but further afield and even overseas.

Marketing the RNC:

Photographed by Gaven Orbel

  • The website has had almost 20 000 visitors since January 2009 and the photo gallery (pics provided by residents including Gavin Orbell, Mercia and Eric Stockenstroom) has been viewed 24 000 times!  A significant portion of visitors outside of SA are USA-based, with Germany, Mauritius, UK, France and Japan following.
  • The events on our Conservation Calendar are becoming very popular.  The Scorpion Walk on 2 May attracted more than 50 people -  from Edenvale, Pretoria, Roodepoort, Hartbeespoort Dam, Centurion and even south of Joburg.   (Fortunately 18 people cancelled, otherwise we would not have coped!)
  • VeldTalk goes to more than 1 000 readers and Mercia Komen, who does the technical side of it (I just write the stories!), monitors how many people actually download it. The April VeldTalk went to 1050 addresses and was read by 997 of those. We cannot measure at the moment how many readers forward the newsletter to others but I keep getting requests from new people to be put on the mailing list.
  • The VeldTalk website's visitors have passed the 10 000 mark.  "It has proved that it has worth and is of interest and therefore I have moved it from the free domain service into the mainstream," says Mercia.  You can now visit VeldTalk at
  • Articles on the RNC have appeared in Fourways Review and other Caxtons, the Kormorant and Madibeng Pulse and we've been on local radio programmes, with a mention on 50/50 as well. Events are advertised on radio websites, eg 702 and RSG.
  • I submit a blog about RNC happenings to the Simply Green website:
  • A range of A1 laminated posters depicting the Conservancy and its activities was professionally designed and is being used at every public occasion.
  • The AA's Cradle and Magaliesberg Maps feature the Conservancy prominently (on both sides!) and tens of thousands have been distributed.  (Cost to us: just over R1 000 pa.)


Quick feedback on other issues:

  • New members, 2010:  Welcome to new members - Cathy Sexton and SOS Training Village (RSE), Steve Panos and Peter Nagel (Rhenosterspruit), the Hanks (Vlakfontein), the Maynards and Parsons (Hills and Dales); the Scotts and Voogts (Doornrandje), the Hlavas and Ridders (Roodekrans), the Woessners (Laezonia) and the Fourwheel Drive Club of SA (Doornrandje).
  • Thanks!  It was heart-warming to get such an immediate and generous response from those renewing their membership.  Arthur Barnes and Howard Williams are keeping up their memberships, all the way from Canada and Oz.  The Van Olphens, Janet Webber and Werner Begere, the Wessels, Garbetts, Schimmels, Maynards, Frik Barnard and No 111 Doornrandje all either paid double or kept their fees at last year's R700.
  • Associate membership:  To date about 80 people have signed up to become Associate Members of the Conservancy. This entitles them to discounts at RNC events and regular feedback as to what is on offer.
  • Reminder: The 2010 AGM takes place on Sunday afternoon, 25 July.
  • Northern Farm:   We are doing whatever we can to try and save Northern Farm, which borders the RNC - commenting on radio, sending articles to newspapers, badgering authorities, keeping at it in VeldTalk and on websites. More help needed!  Any suggestions!?

AGM 2010 Chairman's Speech

This is the 22nd Conservancy AGM I've attended, since the first one in 1988.  That's a big chunk of my and Anthony's lives.  (And here I include stalwarts like the Coles, the Garbetts and the Balfours, who have also been here for a couple of decades or longer.)


March Feedback

First of all, a very warm welcome to the new members:

* Cathy Sexton (Riverside Estates)
* Steve and Michelle Panos (Rhenosterspruit)
* Peter Nagel (Rhenosterspruit)
* Nick & Christina Hanks (Vlakfontein)
* Jakes & Lindsay Parsons (Hills and Dales)
* Carmen & John Maynard (Hills and Dales)
* Taco & Jeanne Voogt (Doornrandje)
* Simon & Mary Scott (Doornrandje)
* Mike and Michele Hlava (Roodekrans)
* Christine & Attila Woessner (Laezonia)
* Janine von Zeuner (Doornrandje)
* Robert Ridder (Roodekrans).

And welcome back to all the stalwarts without whom we cannot operate - the "old" members who've paid the 2010 membership fee of R500.  I have asked Sue Hatfield (treasurer) to send each a receipt.  If there is anyone still waiting for an invoice, please contact her asap:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A special thank you to the van Olphens (DR) and Janet Webber and Werner Bergere (Hennops) for doubling their contributions!  That was a real "riem onder die hart!"

We have sourced a new supplier for the membership boards and the new members will get theirs soon.

Northern Farm feedback

The issue of Joburg Water (JW) deciding to get out of the farming operations on NF ("not their core business") is reverberating across the province - I even got responses from the Cape!

While wracking our brains, we decided to get in touch with some of the valuable contacts we've made over the past few years (those annual Official Tours are paying off!).  We suggested to GDARD (Agriculture and Rural Development) that they consider taking over the farm - as agriculture IS their core business.  Two officials responded immediately and came out to visit NF - one of them the Chief Director of Agriculture.  Roger Wood gave them a brilliant synopsis of NF - the vast potential, the constraints put on them, the multi-purpose use of the farm etc, and then a tour of the farm.

Within a day they came back, saying the GDARD Head of Department, Dr Cornelius, wanted to meet with JW and Joburg Metro - could we please indicate who they should contact.  Now we wait - maybe miracles are possible.

Pompom - victories and flops

Niko Knigge and his small team have battled to treat Pompom in H&D and Doornrandje, with mixed results.  The rains made work very difficult.  Many people did their best on their own properties - despairing when neighbours' infestations simply blew over the fence.

Officials from the National Dept of Agriculture and the Chairman of the Gauteng Pompom Committee met with the RNC committee and indicated that they would be visiting the Conservancy to check where Pompom infestations occur, so that they could follow up with visits and where needed - warnings and fines.  They have been out twice, driving around the Conservancy.  On the one hand they were very impressed with the efforts (by some) and fairly acerbic about some of the badly neglected areas.

While that was a positive move from officialdom, another effort was a dismal failure.  The Dept of Water Affairs (DWA) offered us a trained, equipped, paid team of 12 and we went into hallelujah mode - help at last.  They arrived on Monday, managed to work for two hours (the driver, the team leader and one disabled person don't work) and collected three bags of Pompom heads - mainly stalks, actually.  On Tuesday the performance was even more dismal (only half a bag of stalks) so we informed DWA that they could have the team back.  So much for Government's work creation programmes...   

Help offered:  The 4x4 Club in Doornrandje has an Conservation Portfolio headed by Anton and Elmarie de Marillac.  They asked how they could assist with projects in the RNC.  We've suggested they start with pulling up a bad stand of Verbena opposite the Club.  It's encouraging to be offered such support.


* Saturday 13 March:  Living Naturally Festival, hosted by the RNC and the Magaliesberg Biosphere at Alpha Conference Centre from 12:00 to 18:00. Vincent Carruthers will be there - talking about the Battle of Kalkheuvel.  Award-winning Gilroy Beer will also be there! Come and support us!  (More details in the last VeldTalk.)
*  Friday 26 March:  Quiz evening at Gilroys Brewery at Ngwenya Glass, off the R114 near Muldersdrift. Make up a table of 10.  Tickets:  R120 pp.  RSVP Fransa Cole:  082 902 9149
* Sunday May 2:  Scorpion Walk with Jonathan Leeming - details in VeldTalk later.

All the best!