This is the proposal that has been submitted to Eurhuleni for consideratiion.
PROPOSAL FOR A NEW NATURE RESERVE
Gillooly’s Farm, Linksfield Ridge Nature Reserve and
The Harvey Nature Reserve
You can’t miss the the three Ridges as you enter the Gillooly’s Motor Interchange, to be renamed George Bikos in recognition of the important role he played in defending Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia Trial when the latter was sentenced with others to Robben Island for life with hard labour.
This is the busiest interchange on the ring road around Johannesburg. In the east you come from or go to O R Tambo airport, further Mpumunlanga and the Kruger National Park, travel north to Sandton, Pretoria or further Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa, motor south to the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, Durban and the Indian Ocean or drive west to Johannesburg, Soweto, Bloemfontein and the long trip to world famous Table Mountain in Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean.
In fact there are no better panoramic views to see the skyscrapers of the old gold mining town of Johannesburg, a mere eight km away, and the new plush Sandton City with its modern buildings which is in sharp contrast with the shanty Alexander Township on its doorstep. Northwards you see beautiful old homes of the early Pioneers, Randlords and Zoo Lake and, on a clear day, you can see the magnificent Magliesberg range which were originally laid down in and around a large sea about 2 500 million years ago. You must simply let your imagination run wide. Southwards in the distance is the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, the largest reserve within Gauteng, and beyond them, the Vaal Dam the water source for the whole of the Witwatersrand the industrial hub of South Africa.
You are simply on top of the whole of the Witwatersrand!
The purpose of this exciting new development is to provide a unique experience close by for interest groups, families, walkers, joggers, runners and overseas visitors with a safe environment by incorporating the three separate adjoining prominent ridges into a single Nature Reserve.
The first are the rocky koppies above Gillooly’s Farm under Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality that forms the local government of East Rand region of Gauteng, the second is Linksfield Ridge, under Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality now proclaimed a nature reserve, which was developed by Hermann Kallenbach in the 1920s. The third is The Harvey Nature Reserve donated to the people of Johannesburg in 1959 for a nature and bird sanctuary.
The present trails are mostly narrow paths, fairly flat especially at the top of the three ridges, but can be made more challenging by tackling the gentle or steep gradients both uphill or downhill to be indicated by coloured signposts. At some places the paths are strewn with loose stones so be careful where you place your feet and adjust your speed to avoid falling or incurring injuries.
It is hoped in the near future to involve all major stakeholders -the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Councils, Rand Water Board which plans to build a second water reservoir on the Linksfield Ridge, major sponsors to build two foot bridges over the Jukskei River, erect perimeter fencing around the entire Nature Reserve and have viewing or resting places at strategies places. The various bodies or associations involved in nature conservation, geology, history, hiking, running,
universities, schools, church groups and public interest groups will be also be invited to participate in this major project to provide opportunities for all people to enjoy the outdoor open spaces.
The initial plan to take over the old horse stables, the dog kennels and the house at present used by the Ekurhuleni Traffic department and the enclosed area as an operating base for the planned activities to develop the ridges as a major recreation centre and alter the existing buildings into educational facilities to preserve the past and provide for a green environment.
We the present generation have a collective responsibility as custodians to preserve and develop this unique and important heritage for future generations of all South Africans.
Where is it?
Car park and entrance: Gillooly’s Farm Boeing Road West Bedfordview.
The area is north-east of the Johannesburg CBD. The area is surrounded in the north by the suburbs of Linksfield, Bedford, St Andrews and Senderwood, the Johannesburg Royal and Huddle Park golf courses, Sandton City, Rosebank and, in the distance on a clear day you can see the Magaliesberg mountains, in the west Cyrildene with its Chinatown, Observatory and the densely populated flatlands of Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville, in the south Morninghill, Bedfordview, Germiston and in the east overhead the busy N1 freeway, Edenvale and beyond you can see the planes landing or taking off at O R Tambo airport from time to time.
The main entrance is at the guard house at Gillooly’s Farm on Boeing Road West in Bedfordview with other open unmanned entrances at Pullford Lane in St Andrews and Beryl Street in Cyrildene. The previous entrances in Linksfield Drive above King David School and Kallenbach Drive from Sylvia Pass have been closed to the public. The entire area above Fouchee Terrace in Morninghill and along the Jukskei River is unfenced at this point in time provides unlimited access to the Nature Reserve.
There is no entrance fee payable.
What should I know about security?
In South Africa sadly it is fact of life like most parts of the world nowadays, but possibly much worse at present in our country, that crime is rampart in public places.
Therefore it is important to be vigilant at all times as there are many vagrants, homeless and unemployed people wandering about who are either intent or opportunistic in stealing, mugging and even carrying out serious physical assault including rape. Cape Town with its world famous hikes around Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsular at present have a huge police visibility, committed neighborhood watch groups and are introducing new methods of dealing with crime including deploying CCTV cameras and even using drones as they struggle to contain and prevent crime in all forms which adversely affects its major tourist industry.
Locally over the years there have been a number of reported incidents in the proposed Nature Reserve and adjoining suburbs so be warned. Take precautions such as being part of a group and not alone, do not wear jewelry and, as dogs are permitted, it is advisable to have them accompany you. A good solid walking stick, an old-fashioned whistle or even an anti-mugging stray gun is useful to put off any potential attack. It is not advisable to arm yourself with a weapon or knife as it can be used against yourself.
The Nature Reserve is not fully fenced and there are no security guards patrolling. It is anticipated as funds are allotted by the authorities and donations received from major sponsors and fund-raising events that the whole Nature Reserve will be fenced off, patrolled and smart camera systems installed.
Parking at Gillooly’s Farm is generally safe but parking at the other entrances is often in isolated places and should be avoided except on public roads or near residences. Valuables should be left at home and not worn, also hidden from the naked eye if left in the car or placed in the boot.
How fit do I need to be? What do I need to take with me?
The trails will be specially laid out to cater for all levels of fitness to suit all tastes from casual family walks to varying degrees of exercises from walks, hikes to training runs to build up degrees of stamina and fitness.
In today’s stressful and busy world it is important to commit yourself to regular exercise to enjoy the open spaces and breathe in fresh air that have lasting benefits for both body and soul. The proposed Nature Reserve is easily accessible and convenient from most of the surrounding suburbs, schools, clubs and offices during the week and especially on weekends and public holidays.
It is advisable to carry water, put on sun cream and wear a hat as the whole Nature Reserve is very exposed and there are few shady areas for resting. The planting of indigenous trees is a priority on the ridge. The Morninghill Residents’ Association must be congratulated for undertaking the planting of many indigenous trees along the banks of the Jukskei River and for soliciting donations for benches and tables for socializing and resting.
The main trail named the Dassie Trail is 4 km long and runs in an East -West line. It starts at Gillooly’s Farm when you cross the shallow Jukskei River and start the steep ascent up the winding path to the flat crest of the first ridge. The path is then fairly flat over grasslands offering magnificent views all around, after which it descends on slippy quartzite rock beds to reach the shoulder between the two ridges.
This area is frequently used by church groups who meet on the weekends and public holidays. Many arrive by car or Kombi driving up Pullford Lane in St Andrews and park in the small parking area. Sometimes the groups spend the whole night around a blazing fire under the stars, singing throughout the night and even proclaiming at the top of their voices from vantage places which understandably is not always appreciated by the residents. From time to time especially in the dry winter season these abandoned fires are the cause of veld fires which cause considerable damage to the trees and vegetation as the fire department experiences difficulty in reaching the fires on the mountain side.
The main footpath then ascents steadily up a stony pathway up the second Ridge, but first you have two alternative routes to consider - of going left down the southern slopes with options of returning back to Gillooly’s Farm on the path above the winding Jukskei River, passing the Goldfields Kennels
Showgrounds, the old horse stables and around the corner to recross the Jukskei River to where you started from. I called this Trevor’s Way as my youngest son used to walk to Gillooly’s Farm from our house at the end of Fouchee Terrace on Saturdays and Sundays to help Bob Robinson who operated a steam engine pulling passengers in a number of open carriages from the little station at Gillooly’s Farm, over the steel bridge at the stream from 0riel which runs under the motorway, around the little dam popular for roosting herons and egrets, next to the side of the golf driving range and along the Jukskei River towards Morninghill , where there was a wide turning circle to return on the same track back to the station. Sadly, the venture was not financial viable so Bob Robinson moved his operation to Margate for a few years before the stream train finally gave up the ghost.
The other option is to walk down to Fouchee Terrace, left into Le Grange Terrace, turn right into Sugarbush to River Road, cross the only motor bridge over the Jukskei River and turn left for a pleasant and leisure stroll on well-maintained Kikuyu grass along the river all the way back to Gillooly’s Farm. This area is very popular with locals walking their dogs.
To explore the northern side of the ridge continue a little way up the main path and turn right behind the built up area of townhouses, skirting the back of the Johannesburg Linksfield North Nursery and continue to the back of King David School where you may decide to tackle the steep winding Linksfield Drive to the top of the cul de sac for the view or return back to Club street, turn right to pass Huddle Park Golf Course on the left and return to Gillooly’s Farm either though the well-to -do leafy suburb of St Andrews and pass the famous St Andrews School for Girls or walk up Pullford Avenue back into the Nature Reserve to Gillooly’s Farm and the parking area.
However you may wish to continue in a westerly direction above Fouchee Terrace, which is a cul de sac at both ends, and walk along or in the storm water runway above the flats in Bruma, under a grove of old Bluegum trees towards Cyrildene to the third shoulder between the second and third ridges.
At the shoulder of the second and third ridge again you have a number of choices to make either to hike up the steep stony path towards Linksfield Drive which fenced off and choose yet again, to turn right to the radio tower and return back to Gillooly’s Farm on the Dassie Trail, or turn left to the beacon to enter the third ridge which is The Harvey Nature Reserve which is not fenced off.
It is noteworthy to look closely at this small park of 7 acres donated to Johannesburg by two of the city’s pioneers Mr and Mrs S F Harvey so that the small buck and guinea fowl occasionally seen there may have a permanent home. This area which was laid out with stone paths and a water feature which has fallen into disuse as it has not been properly maintained despite the terms of the donation to the Johannesburg City Council. The area is thus overgrown and badly neglected but nevertheless still a very pretty area to explore especially the rocky outcrops.
The other choice is to continue along the rocky path on the side of the mountain and exit at Beryl Street in Cyrildene, if the gate is not padlocked, or climb up the steep path towards the row of pine trees and explore the rocky outcrops and dense indigenous vegetation to the cul de sac at Kallenbach Drive. On the grassy plateau there are archeological ruins and mysterious circles of stones which have archeologists baffled as they are thought to be connected with the Iron Age sites.
Stone Age Man has also left his mark on the ridge – the debris of his stone tools and weapon manufacture has been found in the gravel deposits there.
COLOUR ROUTE DIFFICULTY DESCRIPTION
Green Dassie Trail Moderate, up and down 3 ridges, views
White Rock climbing Rope ladders, supervision Family fun
Yellow St Andrews Hotel Adventure, challenging Indigenous area
Orange North side. Paths, sidewalks Easy
Blue South side Path, river walk Easy, scenic
Red Trevor’s path Short cut to Gillooly’s Path, river view
Black 1st, 2nd and 3rd paths Very steep, mountainside Challenging
Background information of the area
The whole Reserve is steeped with very old history from the late Iron Age Tswana sites, early inhabitants and San hunters as evidenced by the primitive implements and strange ruins found. It is hoped to have a permanent display set up at the Environment Centre for geologists and schools to preserve this important heritage.
Mohandras Gandhi used to mediate on Linksfield Ridge in his young days as a lawyer in South Africa. He developed a long-lasting friendship with Herman Kallenbach. In Gandhi’s words they became soulmates and, for a time, shared the house designed by Kallenbach on Linksfield Ridge called Satyagraha House now known as Gandhi House. Gandhi later became an anti-colonialist who employed non-violent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India’s independence from British Rule, and in turn inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. It would be a much-visited attraction to have a permanent display on this part of his life in South Africa at the Environment Centre.
In 1960 L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Scientology organization, visited Johannesburg and stayed at Ron Hubbard House at 40 Hannaben Street Cyrildene which has been recognized by the Johannesburg Cultural Legacy. He is quoted as saying (rather too ambitiously!) in an address to his followers: From Southern Africa will spring the next great civilization on this planet. Also, by way a milestone statement from atop Linksfield Ridge he is said to have authored a One man One vote constitution for South Africa.
The grave located off Milner Avenue, just up from St Andrews Hotel and below St Andrews School for Girls, is that of Sir George Farrah who played a prominent role in planning the Jamieson Raid, one of the main causes of the Second -Anglo Boer War. His farm Bedford was named after Sir George’s hometown of Bedford in England. The name Bedfordview came about as result of a competition in 1926 which was won by a young girl who liked the view from Bedford Farm. “Bedford View” was then registered and later contracted to one word.
According to the Gauteng Tourism Authority Gillooly’s Farm is one of the best places to visit in Johannesburg when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, to enjoy the tranquility of the countryside at your doorstep. The owner James Gillooly sold the farm to the Johannesburg City Council in 1944 and it was named after him. It was unusual in that the one of the conditions of sale was that the farm be open to all citizens and that there would be no charge for the entrance to the land.
The Ridge is Orange Grove Quartzite and the vegetation is the central variation of Brakenveld with some sheltered spots containing Southern Bushveld shrubs. One can enjoy the contrast between the northern slopes with their higher density of trees and shrubs, and the southern facing slopes with grasslands, aloes and proteas. The summer months produce some lovely orchids, Ledabourias and other wildflowers after the veld fires in winter and early summer rains.
Flora and fauna
The sugarbush (Protea caffra) is probably the dominant naturally growing plant species to be the found on both the north and south sides of the ridge. Also, to be found are stamvrug trees growing in between the quartz outcrops and the occasional cabbage tree. The Nature Reserve has a wide variety of trees, including wild peach, white stinkwood and wild apricot creeper. Black wattle and bug weed are a problem along the Jukskei Riverbanks in Morninghill but the authorities and concerned groups undertake regular clean ups to prevent them becoming too invasive.
To the botanists and nature lovers there are many species of grasses, mixture of different vegetation types, aloes and succulents all over the ridges. Sadly, In the past illegal removal of indigenous plants have denuded the ridges so a long-term project should be undertaken to reintroduce the original and new plants to enrich the area.
At the Harvey Nature Reserve, you will find Velvet Bushwillow, Lemon scented Knob-thorn and Wild Pear which at certain times of the year fill the air with the scent of their blooms.
As there is no natural water on the ridge wildlife is absent but from time to time there are spotting’s of mongoose, civet and owls. It is hard to imagine that in the 1920s a game hunter was called to the area by the farmer to deal with marauding lions which were killing his cattle.
However, there must be a possibility once the perimeter fencing is in place to stock the Nature Reserve with game such as dassies, zebra, wildebeest and small buck which will add to the attraction of the Nature Reserve.
Gillooly’s Farm is a bird sanctuary with over 50 species recorded at the dam, in the Nature Reserve and along the Jukskei River. The area is home to hundreds of water birds such as Egyptian geese, swans, pied kingfisher, yellow bill ducks, herons, cape wagtail, blacksmith plovers, common moorhens, red-knobbed coot. In the reeds are the bossy Southern red Bishops, yellow Cape weavers and dabchicks.
The large man lake is home to fish species such as common carp, blue kurper and sharp tooth catfish (barbel). In the past there have a number of instances of severe sewer and water pollution which killed off the fish and posed serious health issues downstream at places like nearby Alexandra Township as many residents rely on the Jukskei River for drinking water and washing.
The real tragedy is the pollution of the Jukskei River which has its source near Ellis Park and flows throughout the year. Considerable funds and effort have already been expended upstream by Johannesburg Council to control the rubbish, raw sewerage and effluent from the densely populated
areas of Hillbrow and surrounding areas being dumped into the storm water drains.These include a multimillion entrapment project at Bezuidenhout Park which has not been successful and the recent redevelopment of the Bruma Lake back to its natural state which allows the river to run freely once again. This change has brought back abundant water birds and has removed the terrible smell the hotel, businesses and residents complained about.
There are potentially two possibilities for an Environmental Centre- the first being the Johannesburg Linksfield North Municipality Nursery on Club street adjoining King David School and the second the old horse stables and the house at Gillooly’s Farm which will require an enthusiastic committee to plan and maintain to have a worth-while permanent Environmental Centre for visitors, interested groups and school outings.
Future projects and development
It is a now an opportune time to undertake major construction of paths and restoration of the natural vegetation and damage caused when the original water reservoir was built on Linksfield Ridge some forty years ago by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council and Rand Water Board. No proper restoration of the damage to the environment was ever undertaken although many plants were removed before the construction commenced. In addition about ten years ago there was a major water pipe burst on the south side of the ridge which caused considerable damage to houses on Fouchee Terrace and Sugarbush Road in Morninghill as an avalanche of water emptied in the Jukskei River below leaving a huge scar on the mountainside which is still an eyesore today.
The reason for immediate action is there are advanced plans afoot by the Rand Water Board and Johannesburg City Council to build a smaller second water reservoir next to the first reservoir on Linksfield Ridge to augment the existing water supply for the surrounding suburbs of Johannesburg including the new luxury townhouses on parts of the Huddle Park Golf Course and the proposed huge sub economic housing project behind Edenvale Hospital. The excavations for this will make available considerable quality of soil and stone which would otherwise have to be transported through built up residential areas causing dust, inconvenience and road congestion to residents for many months.
With expert professional advice, a will to create a major environmental educational centre, the planned major improvements at Gillooly’s Farm which includes the reopening of the lakeside restaurant and conference centre and the active, enthusiastic support of many interested parties the Nature Reserve can become a major, attractive and inter active Environmental Centre where all interests are catered for.
The Mervyn King Trail was intended by the Johannesburg City Council to be the second inner city walking trail (the first being the Braamfontein Spruit and the third being the Sand Spruit). The route runs from the Pieter Roos Park in Hillbrow, through Hillbrow, along the Observatory Ridge, through
Bezuidenhout Park, Bruma, Morninghill to Gillooly’s Farm. Sadly, the trail may still be there but crime, lack of safety, signposting and promotion means that few people risk the walk nowadays.
Perhaps the reconversion of the Bruma Lake into a parkland will entice hikers back. In 1986 as part of the Johannesburg Centenary project the Planning department of the Johannesburg Council published a wonderful guide titled The Mervyn King Ridge Trail, from Landscape to Townscape – a City and its Origins.
The lack of appreciation and public apathy for historical, geographical and environmental matters of what makes South Africa unique is concerning and therefore requires a concerted effort of all before it is too late for future generations.
None at present until an Environmental Centre has been established at either at Johannesburg Nursery Club Street Linksfield or at the old horse stables at Gillooly’s Farm, Bedfordview.
A blueprint, a project plan and a feasibility study for this ambitious development expected cost ultimately millions of Rand and implemented over many years must be agreed upon by the various authorities and interested parties and will be very time consuming and challenging but must be undertaken in the near future.
For circulation and comment:
Johannesburg City Parks (Dee Daniel 011 712 6604 firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ekurhuleni Dept Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (Leonie Snyman 011 999 4529 cell: 083 308 8647 Leonie.Snyman@ekurhuleni.gov.za)
Gillooly’s Buildings (Siphokazi Mekane Siphokazi.Mekane@ekurhuleni.gov.za)
Themba Gadebe (Themba.email@example.com)
Footprint Hiking Club (Chairman David Jacobs 083 299 0899 firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tim Hartwright (Jacana Media 011 628 3200 email@example.com)
Marian Laserson (environmentalist) firstname.lastname@example.org
Marina Costas (BBM Law email@example.com)
Gavin Henry (Bedfordview Community Police Forum firstname.lastname@example.org)
Boake Inc (Chartered Accountants email@example.com)
Project initiator: Doug Boake Cell No: 082 524 4640 Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Morninghill 1 August 2019
The horse stables have not been in use for a long time but are still in good condition and the immediate area is grassed and enclosed with concrete palisade fencing which adds to the overall security.
It is understood that some effort was made by an entrepreneur Joni Kawalsky to lease The Harvey Nature Reserve and apparently had plans drawn up to develop the Johannesburg Linksfield Nursery to establish a nonprofit centre with various income earning activities such as a restaurant, an educational centre and growing fast growing trees on a commercial basis. This must be investigated further with Johannesburg Parks as contact with him has been lost in the past year.
Access to the horse stables could be through Goldfields Dog Showgrounds from Boeing Road West.
The establishment of a playground for children, mothers’ gathering and picnic facilities could become an attractive feature with adequate secured parking at the Environment Centre.
At the nearby weir a feature stone bridge should be built over the Jukskei River and a broadwalk laid out over the wetland to the rocky outcrop to encourage bird life as the Jukskei River floods in the summer from the heavy downpours upstream.
A maze for children could be also established in the same area with a viewing deck above the rocky outcrop to encourage children to develop a sense of adventure and a love for nature.
There is potential for limited easy rock climbing on the first ridge facing Gillooly’s Farm which will be an added attraction.
On the undeveloped parts of first and second north facing ridges challenging adventure trails could be laid out while preserving the indigenous vegetation.
Security could be provided by installation of CCTV cameras at strategic places in the Nature Reserve manned from the guard house at the entrance to Gillooly’s Farm or from the Environmental Centre.
The use of the horse stables, the house, dog kennels and enclosed area can be developed to provide a people-centre biodiversity management and Educational Centre to ensure the long-term sustainability of this unique unspoiled Nature Reserve for future generations.
There is a caretaker’s accommodation at the house used by the traffic department which is occupied by an employee of Ekurhuleni Council who can oversee and coordinate activities of the proposed centre. There are also unused dog kennels which can be used to house security dogs for patrolling purposes.
The Nature Reserve educational centre will be under the control of the Ekurhuleni Parks as it adjoins Gillooly’s Farm with cooperation from the Johannesburg City Parks, Rand Water Board and assisted by a PBO/ NGO organization.
The state of the abandoned public toilet building near the horse stables is too disgusting for words, a tremendous indictment of poor management of public facilities and a serious health hazard. Hopefully the upgrade of this public facility will be included in the proposed upgrade of improvements of Gilooly’s Farm by Ekurhuleni Municipal Council.
The enclosed Kikuyu grassed area outside the horse stables, house and dog kennels will require a proper drainage system installed as large parts of the enclosure becomes seriously waterlogged and cannot be used as an entertainment area in the rainy season.
Public participation will be through a registered Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) / Non-Profit Organisatiion (NGO) under a Board of Trustees still to be registered to coordinate all activities including sponsorships, fund raising, facilities and ongoing development to ensure the success of this facility for all South Africans and overseas visitors.
The Johannesburg City Parks and Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality Sport and Recreation as well as all Ward Councillors of all the suburbs adjoining the Nature Reserve must be initially approached for their comment, co-operation and support for the proposed steering committee to initiate and review the feasibility of the project.
It has reported in the press in 2019 that Linksfield Ridge has been proclaimed in a Nature Reserve by application of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council to the National Parks Board. Steps must be undertaken to proclaim the remaining ridges as Nature Reserves, if not already done so, and furthermore to consolidate the 3 properties as one proclaimed Nature Reserve to prevent future commercial development.
Every Saturday morning at 7am throughout the year about 500 enthusiasts take part in the Park Run in Gillooly’s Farm. They would welcome the provision of additional facilities.
The Goldfields Dog Club leases the ground between The Momentum Golf Village and The Cornerstone Church with access from Boeing Road and hosts a number of different dog shows and events throughout the year. This is great fun for the whole family and there is no entrance fee for the public to come and watch.
A unique mountain run is suggested to be called The Gillooly’s Mountain Run should be organized annually by the Bedfordview Athletics Club. Runners to run singly against the watch over the top of the 3 ridges with the total distance of 8 km in a target time of half an hour because of the narrow paths and difficult terrain. The event should take place in the late afternoon / early evening on a Saturday. Each runner to run with a light which will be watched by spectators and families along the way. It should be quite a spectacle to see whole route lit up. The first half of the run to be over the 3 ridges to Kallenbach Drive and the second half along the banks of the Jukskei River in Morninghill back to Gillooly’s Farm. The early part of the afternoon can be organized for walkers and joggers over shorter distances. This could become in time become a prestigious event in the runners’ calendar.
The most exciting aspect of this entire project is the potential it holds of providing much needed employment opportunities for a number of unemployed people as government, local authorities and private sector seemingly are unable to provide simple opportunities for those desperate to earn money for basic survival needs for themselves and their extended families.
South Africa is in a crisis at present with nearly one third of its working force unemployed now exceeding ten million people for the first time. This simply cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely as it will result in serious social, economic and financial disruptions which will adversely affect all our communities.
This calls for an immediate, ambitious and bold plan almost the magnitude and scale of the Marshall Plan which helped war ravaged countries of Europe to recover after World War II when the USA poured vast amount of money and effort to help the countries with their recovery and to kick start their economies again.
South Africa should implement a similar undertaking a Mandela Plan with the government, local authorities, private sector and every community committed to projects which are immediate, doable, sustainable and beneficial to the community itself to provide work opportunities to address the serious problem of unemployment.