I was shocked when invited to come and see the devastation of the Mpenjati Nature Reserve on Friday, May 11.
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Sadly I haven’t visited the reserve for a couple of years now and was shocked at how badly the dune forest and the dunes themselves have deteriorated.
Locals believe that one of the main reasons for this is large numbers of people forcing their way through the once thick vegetation to visit the illegal nudist beach at Trafalgar – destroying the forest as they go.
Large numbers of people have been seen using the reserve as a short cut to the beach.
Some people are also using the once beautiful dune forest alongside the beach as a toilet and a dumping area for condoms and empty bottles.
The dunes are also deteriorating badly because the old rules of no walking on the dunes no longer apply.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife may not have the will, budget or personnel to protect this reserve.
The handful of honorary officers trying their best to halt this destruction are pretty powerless, and even a call from these officers for help from Public Safety Officers, did not deter beachgoers.
The powers that be within the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality advertised the opening of the ‘nudist beach’ without taking into account the surrounding environment.
Urgent signs and more peace officers are needed to prohibit access to protected areas.
I think it is time that South Coasters who love this reserve come together to insist it is properly protected as Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife are mandated to do.
A clean, preserved environment is the greatest gift to future generations.
CLLR STEPHANIE BREEDT
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