Giba Gorge Environmental Precinct: An innovative use of a Special Rating Area for environmental conservation management

Lyle E Ground

The Giba Gorge Environmental Precinct project is a collaboration between private landowners and the eThekwini Municipality to manage a common area (Giba Gorge) comprising scarp forest (use the latest name) and Endangered KwaZulu-Natal Sandstone Sourveld for conservation. The aim is to build an effective tool to contribute toward the management of the Municipality’s biodiversity assets. Giba Gorge Environmental Precinct (GGEP) was established in July 2009 after being endorsed as a Special Rating Area (SRA) by the eThekwini Municipality. The Municipal Property Rates Act 2004 makes provision for the formation of SRAs for the supply of ‘top-up’ services to an area. The GGEP is the first to utilise this legislated tool for environmental management purposes.  Spearheaded by proactive members of the Giba community and eThekwini Municipality’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD), this Pilot Project aims to develop an effective partnership between citizens and local government to manage a common natural resource. Funds for management activities are raised from private landowners (through an additional levy on their rates) and the municipality, which owns a significant portion of the land in the gorge. In addition to ongoing contributions from the municipality to manage its land, the municipality has agreed to provide co-management funds to help alleviate some of the financial burden on private landowners during the first five years of operations. The Giba Committee and EPCPD are currently investigating alternative funding models which will replace the municipal co-management funds. A working committee, comprising mostly Giba landowners and an EPCPD staff member together with four conservation management staff oversee and implement the running of operations in the precinct. A management plan has been drafted which highlights various implementation programmes that form the central basis towards which management staff direct their efforts. These include (a) alien invasive eradication programme, (b) Fire management programme, (c) Field ranger patrol programme, (d) Trails and amenities programme, (e) Pollution monitoring programme, (f) Communication programme. To date the GGEP SRA has resulted in the effective management of 241ha of key municipal environmental assets.

Presentation Topic

Giba Gorge Environmental Precinct: An innovative use of a Special Rating Area for environmental conservation management


Contact Mr Ground:

Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department, eThekwini Municipality, Room 226, 2nd Floor, City Engineers Building, 166 K.E. Masinga Road, Durban


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