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Thursday Jul 26, 2012

Friends of Rietvlei prepare for court battle with Tshwane council

The friends of Rietvlei could be forced to go the legal route to get Tshwane Metro Council to respond to their objections to the proposed development of a SuperSport United training facility at Rietvlei Dam.

"We don't want to do this because we regard the municipality as our partners. But this might be the only way we can get responses," said the organisation's chairman, Kobus Engelbrecht.

He said they submitted their objections to the municipality and expected a response by last Friday.

According to Engelbrecht, the municipality was given four weeks to respond.

"We have tried to speak to them but they have failed to respond. We do not know what is happening."

Yesterday, council spokesman Phalane Motale confirmed receipt of the Friends of Rietvlei's letter and said "a response is being drafted".

Engelbrecht said the Friends regarded the municipality as their partner, and members went to the dam to assist wherever they could.

"It is weird that we have to act against our partners."

The organisation is unhappy that the municipality has granted permission for the Premier Soccer League side to develop a portion of the reserve.

Engelbrecht said they did not have anything against SuperSport, but were concerned that the municipality had granted the team permission to build its training facilities on a site which falls under the Rietvlei Nature Conservation area.

The land needs to be deproclaimed as a nature area before approval of any development can be granted.

It is believed that SuperSport - who are currently using grounds at the University of Pretoria's Groenkloof Campus for training - intend to build permanent training facilities and a clubhouse on the property.

"Tshwane is the only city in the world with a nature reserve within the city borders of 4 000 hectares with game such as rhinos, cheetahs, lions and buck such as eland, blesbok and springbok," said Engelbrecht.

The site is categorised as Class 1 Ridge, meaning less than 5 percent of it has been disturbed.

There are 640 plant species in the area and it is part of the water source and catchment of the Rietvlei Dam.

Friends of Rietvlei have the backing of several organisations including the SA Hunters Association, Friends of Doringkloof Spruit, Doringkloof Home Owners' Association, the Wetlands Society of SA and Clearwater Estate.

Attempts to get comment from SuperSport's marketing manager, Coltrane Munyai, were unsuccessful.

Pretoria News

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