As mentioned on our home page, dedicated property owners in Marloth Park became concerned about the future implications of the current management and conservation practices in Marloth Park.
From its conception four decades ago, [History of Marloth Park & Ownership of Lionspruit] Marloth Park was initially managed by a “private” municipality until the start of the New South Africa in 1994. Our private Municipality (The Transitional Local Authority of Marloth Park) and before them, the the Board for the Development of Peri-Urban Areas, later renamed the Local Management Affairs Council, in many ways acted as our Body Corporate – looking after our common assets and enforcing the rules of Marloth Park. We had a significantly smaller population and as a result, way more bush for our animals.
Through South Africa's democratic progression, Marloth Park was integrated under the greater Nkomazi Municipality's jurisdiction and our “Private” body corporate with many of our assets, were absorbed into this government structure.
It was at this time that the enforcement of our township rules started to fall off. Buildings that did not comply with our rules were allowed to be built and tourism businesses started to spring up in Marloth. Marloth Park has now grown into a sought-after Tourism destination for local as well as international tourists.
Given Marloth Park's unique blend of high human footprint, need for conservation, and growing tourism industry, it goes without saying Marloth Park faces a diverse range of significant challenges!
Increasingly, the demand on Marloth Park's infrastructure, ecology and conservation, now threatens to exceed the capacity and capability of the existing role players and volunteer organisations.
Proactive property owners began to realise the need for a legally structured and consolidated management body that would optimise the management and conservation of Marloth Park in the present and into a well-planned secure future. This is significant as almost 95% of owners do not live in Marloth Park, cannot rationally contribute personally, but need and desire a sustainable management plan for both the ecology and township.
It also became patently obvious that if this body was going to protect the interests of our animals, environment, property owners and tourists, it would need to meet specific stringent criteria:
- Be able to obtain professional assessments and advice from (unbiased) experts as a foundation for all future decisions and strategies.
- Be responsible for conservation practices and strategies.
- Implement sound management of structural infrastructure and development.
- Secure and maintain Marloth Park assets (including public areas, Henk Van Rooyen Park and Lionspruit).
- Achieve and maintain financial stability of Marloth Park for all owners.
- Improve security and access control and reduce poaching, which is a real and significant threat to Marloth Park.
- Enforce compliance with Marloth’s rules and regulations and manage practical relationships and requirements associated with proximity to the neighbouring conservation areas.
The capacity to successfully perform these (and other necessary) functions, would necessitate that the body be legally representative of all the property owners.
It would also need to put control of Marloth Park and its assets directly in the hands of property owners and those with a vested interest in the present and future of Marloth Park, without subjecting it to risk.
Many legal options were explored with professional and legal consultation. The most viable recommendation was the formation of both a Trust and a Public Benefit Organisation, as a means of managing Marloth Park and its assets according to the executive instructions of the Marloth Park property owners.
This model makes provision for accountability and safeguards the vested interests of all property owners and considers how we manage Marloth into the future together with the Municipality.
Of course, this is a gross overview of the Marloth Park Conservation Trust (MPCT), and more detailed documents and resources can be found on our resources page. However, the ethos of the MPCT is simple and one that, we believe, is shared by most property owners in Marloth Park - a deep love of Marloth Park and our wildlife, and a desire to see it managed and conserved to the best possible standards, in the most affordable manner for now and into the future.
At the heart of the MPCT is a call to unity. A plea for all those who love Marloth Park to stand and work together, to make informed decisions for the well-being of all our special environment, animals (large and small), and property owners.
We invite you to join us in this endeavour!