Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) has commenced the reopening of nature reserves that have adequate access control measures in place, as stipulated in Regulation 39 of the Disaster Management Act for COVID.
The Joburg Zoo, The Wilds and the Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia have remained open. This is to enable residents to take advantage of the value derived from nature, in reducing undue anxiety and stress, relative to the pandemic.
Nature reserves in Kloofendal, Klipriversberg, Northcliff, Rietfontein and the Beaulieu Bird Sanctuary, were reopened on Monday, 18 January. Melville Koppies, as well will be available to accommodate visits through a pre-booking process.
These facilities in the heart of bustling Joburg, provide panoramic views and a much needed escape for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a day-hike or walk. Entrance numbers may be limited; no groups will be allowed unless with members of the same household and all COVID protocols will apply. These facilities will be open from 09h00 until 18h00 daily and enquiries or concerns may be directed to Bishop Ngobeli via Whatsapp on 068 087 6382.
Councillor Margaret Arnolds, the member of the mayoral committee for community development in the City of Joburg, conducted a site visit at The Wilds on Saturday, 16 January to assess compliance standards and remarked, “I am satisfied with the access control measures in place and I am pleased to see so many visitors who have adhered to the call, to visit in small numbers; retain a safe distance and who wear a mask.”
Arnolds however cautioned that, “The onus is on parents to closely supervise young children and for visitors to act responsibly by staying home if they are unwell; have come in recent contact with a person who has COVID; are supposed to be in isolation or if they encounter large groups queuing at the entrance”.
JCPZ advised that the delay in the simultaneous reopening of all reserves was as a result of a staff member testing positive. This consequently led to the quarantine of the team and thereby affected City Parks’ ability to have adequate staff in place, to manage access control within its flagship nature reserves. Staff in isolation have since been screened and have returned to their work stations.
While nature reserves open, all parks in the City of Joburg (CoJ) will unfortunately remain closed. This is relative to most parks having no single-entry point to control access or monitor users. A growing concern are unfenced parks which continue to be utilised, especially by young-children who naturally do not understand the gravity of becoming infected and the associated impacts of taking the virus home to a family member who is vulnerable to the disease. The Disaster Management Act calls for penalties to be imposed, bearing in mind that these are the only spaces for many children living in high-density areas, with limited indoor space and who will only return to school in February.
MMC Arnolds reinforced, “I am mindful that COVID fatigue is real. The number of deaths too is real. As parents we need to safeguard our children in stemming the spread of the virus”. We need every resident to make these short-term sacrifices until we can all venture outside and continue with life, as we knew it,” she concluded.
Issued by the Member of Community Development in the City of Joburg
Councillor Margaret Arnolds
FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES
Spokesperson: Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo
Tel: 082 8030 748 or on 082 906 1515