When the nominations for the Board of the Magaliesberg Biosphere concluded at the end of 2015, there were no nomination in the stakeholder groups of mining, Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and that of Land Occupiers.
The appointed Board resolved to re-open the nomination process for these stakeholder groups, and four nominations were received. During October 2016 the Stakeholders in the Magaliesberg Bioshere were invited to vote for the nominee of their choosing.
Two candidates now join the Board of the Magaliesberg Biosphere. The Board congratulated and welcomes Professor Jasper Knight and Ms Tshegofatso Tyira.
The basic purpose of a Biosphere is to develop ways in which people can live and prosper, jobs can be created and development can take place all without permanently depleting the natural resources. The responsibility for directing the Magaliesberg Biosphere towards this goal falls to the Board of a non-profit company and that Board is in the process of being appointed right now. Sixteen interest groups will be represented on the Board, for example, environmental conservation, heritage, tourism, landowners, educators, etc. Nominations for each of the sixteen positions were called for at public meetings last month and candidates have been nominated.
A petition has done the rounds to draw attention to the pollution of major water systems.
Anthony Duigan writes, "The apparent inability of two water authorities - Joburg Water and the Department of Water Affairs - to responsibly and competently manage key water resources is doing lasting damage to our country and its people. We cannot stay silent as one of Gauteng’s premier waterways - the Jukskei-Crocodile system - is being destroyed by what appears to be negligence and incompetence. The Northern Wastewater Treatment Works, one of the largest in the country that once proudly boasted Green Drop status, continues week after week, month after month, to pump sewage into this river system. We will not allow this to continue."
The Designated Management Agency compromises a Management Board, which is the management authority responsible for governing the Magaliesberg Biosphere. In line with best practice, a non-profit company (NPC), named the “Magaliesberg Biosphere” (Association incorporated under Section 21), has been registered in terms of the companies Act. The company’s board has the responsibility to fulfil the designated functions of a Biosphere reserve -
contribute to the conservation of the landscape, ecosystems, species and genetic variation;
foster development which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable;
provide logistical support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange.
In June 2015 UNESCO declared the greater Magaliesberg region, including the Cradle of Humankind, a globally recognised biosphere reserve. The declaration is described in a new booklet about the area as ‘a proud accomplishment for South Africa and a fine moment for the world’. The designation as a Biopshere Reserve was celebrated with the ceremonial unveiling of a granite plaque on the summit of the Magaliesberg on 28 October.
After nearly a decade of lobbying and sustained efforts by a small committee of dedicated environmentalists, the Magaliesberg has been declared a World Biosphere Reserve.
The announcement was made today (9 June) in Paris by the International Coordinating Council of the Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB). This is a Unesco programme that aims to build a supportive and sustainable relationship between people and their environments. In effect, this means a specific focus on safeguarding natural ecosystems through innovative approaches to economic development.
The World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which Magaliesberg now joins, counts 631 biosphere reserves in 119 countries.
“We are delighted with this final acknowledgement of the unique nature of the Magaliesberg and the powerful contribution it is making to our country, to the ecosystem services in Gauteng and the North West and the communities it nurtures over an extensive area,” said Paul Fatti, chair of the Magaliesberg Biosphere Initiative Group (MBIG) that has been lobbying authorities since 2007 to support the establishment of the Biosphere.
Vincent Carruthers, past chair of MBIG and renowned author of “The Magaliesberg”, the most authoritative study of the mountain range, said that this announcement was the culmination of a campaign that began in 2006.
“I’m most grateful there is now international recognition of this great mountain range that has witnessed the whole span of life, from its very origins,” he said. “The Magaliesberg is almost 100 times older than Mount Everest and half the age of the earth, a unique treasure for us in this part of Africa.”
Vincent Carruthers has been the Chairman of the Magalisberg Biosphere Initiative Group (MBIG) since 2009 and has fervently advocated for the Magaliesberg Biosphere since 2006.
In July this year Vincent decided to resign the Chairmanship of MBIG to allow more time for his own interests and work in the Biosphere. One of these tasks is to re-visit and update his popular book "The Magaliesberg".
Vincent will continue as Chairman of the Magaliesberg Biosphere (Not for Profit Company).
Paul Fatti was nominated for the role of chairman and the MBIG committee unanimously supported this nomination. Paul previously chaired MBIG, and is still the Chairman of Magaliesberg Protection Association.