The City of Cape Town has published a draft Nature Reserves by-law that is intended to protect and preserve the nature reserves in the city’s municipal boundaries, as well as ensure the safety and enjoyment of those visiting. 

Cape Town forms an integral part of the Cape Floristic Region, with much of its unique biodiversity being highly threatened and restricted to small areas within the city’s municipal boundaries. It is challenging to adequately protect and conserve this unique and spectacular biodiversity.

The city manages 23 nature reserves that have been proclaimed in terms of the National Environmental Management Protected Areas Act (NEMPAA). These protected areas provide important ecosystems and contribute to Cape Town’s future sustainability and resilience to climate change.

The proposed Nature Reserves by-law aims to ensure that the city fulfils its obligations in terms of the NEMPAA, and that the protected areas are utilised by learners, tourists, volunteers, and Capetonians in a sustainable manner.

The reserves are currently managed in terms of the National Nature Reserve Regulations and the by-law will allow the city to improve efficiencies, including the enforcement of these regulations through the municipal court system and the issuing of compliance notices.

“Thousands of people visit our nature reserves every month. They want a safe space, and an environment that contributes to the pleasure and enjoyment of being in nature. We have a responsibility to these visitors,” said City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt.