longest green-belt in Joburg

A South African man is trying to restore a natural green-belt along the Hennops River which will stretch all the way from Kempton Park to Hartbeespoort Dam.


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Willem Snyman, the man behind the project wants to restore the green-belt in Johannesburg along the Hennops River which stretches over 1ookm.

The Hennops River runs from the Kempton Park area in Johannesburg, flowing in a northerly direction, through Tembisa, past Olifanstfontain, and through central Centurion. The river winds through the Hennops River valley, and the Schurverberg foothills and finally joins with the Crocodile River in the Limpopo Province, on the right bank.

But urban life has encroached on the river and subsequently made it one of the most polluted rivers in the Province of Gauteng. Recent tests of the water at various points have revealed that it has become uninhabitable for most of the indigenous fauna and flora that used to flourish in its waters, and on its banks.

Snyman wants to change that!

The determined activist created an NPO called FRESH (Fountain River Environmental Sanctuary Hennops) and is taking a problem-solving approach to the pollution in the river by looking at some of the main contributors of this pollution.

“We have identified that although much of the pollution is coming from urban, and rural towns and informal settlements, there are also large sanitation plants long the river, in desperate need of maintenance, and un-checked corporate polluters that are contributing.”

Taking the first steps in a much larger project, Snyman has proposed starting with river sanctuaries and creating a bigger green-belt along the river areas to encourage plants and wildlife to thrive along the river banks.

“To initiate the process of restoring and protecting these Rivers from source, all of the five Rivers that originate on the Witwatersrand and potentially form part of the proposed Birth-Source River Reserve namely the Crocodile, Jukskei, Hennops, Klip and Apies Rivers should be protected by their own Sanctuaries and Reserves to preserve the water quality and restore their riparian zones.

They can be administered by local groups and representatives familiar with the nature of their riverine areas and the problems, working to monitor and maintain water quality, restoring the original life and expanding the natural corridors.”

The Hennops River-valley forms the base part of the proposed Sanctuary, timelessly the Hennops river has carved an ancient and spectacular coarse here through the solid rock foothills of the Schurweberg. The extreme rockiness of the area has saved its grassland from agricultural destruction. It remains largely intact still harbouring some very old trees, plants and bulbs as well as a highly diverse insect and small animal life, some larger ones like Eland and Kudu are also present most from precious wild gene-pools having found a last refuge here.

By returning the other original species some severally threatened and adding to this existing bio-diversity a magnificent Wildlife park can be created in the heart of Gauteng.

After this the restoration of life to our rivers can become a reality, the natural life can slowly be brought back and we can reclaim our lost Eden through these ancient rivers with their life-filledwaterways. The huge task can be undertaken of invasive alien removal and replacing with indigenous species while controlling severe weed infestations to restore the riverbanks.

Through donations, government funding, and corporate assistance, we believe that it is possible to restore the river to its former glory, and maintain its beauty.

Watch his story below:

Sources: Fresh | CSquared Productions
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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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