Bakwena, which has the concession to manage the N1N4 toll for SANRAL, is involved in a number of environmental projects. Here are some of the highlights
BAKWENA, in partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), implemented the Eco-Schools Project in 10 schools in 2016. The programme improves schools’ management of environmental issues and provides conservational teaching for learners and educators. During 2016, the EWT engaged with 7 053 learners in 10 schools in Hammanskraal. The Wildlife & Environmental Society of Southern Africa (Wessa) engaged in a pilot project to engage with 10 schools in the Kgetleng area on the N4 during 2017. In partnership with the EWT, Bakwena also has a project in which all animals killed along the route are recorded by Bakwena’s route patrollers. This information is shared with the EWT, which assists with identifying hotspots along the route that may require mitigation measures. The Swartruggens area of the Kgetlengriver local municipality
experienced extreme drought from 2015 to January 2017. It was declared a disaster area when the supply dam dried and residents had to rely on boreholes and water tankers to provide water. Bakwena sponsored two tankers for 13 months, delivering water to residents of Borolelo in Swartruggens. Bakwena assisted the Kgetlengriver local municipality by commissioning a review of the boreholes in the Swartruggens vicinity and reinstated three boreholes to full service. Other environmental projects that Bakwena participates in include Arbor Week, which includes tree-planting ceremonies in the various schools along the route. Their involvement in a leopard project in the Magaliesburg area has been crucial and the research from this project has assisted with the ban on leopard trophy hunting for two years in a row. Bakwena has also invested in an Air Liquide Liquid Nitrogen Biotank to assist in local wildlife conservation. The biotank will form a key link in biomedical conservation research initiatives in South Africa, by establishing a library of very specific collections of biodiversity specimens. Bakwena is now represented on the board of the Magalies Biosphere, which was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2015.
THE N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) has implemented an environmental management system (EMS) based on the ISO14001 standard. During 2016, the N3 Toll Concession attended to four newly registered rehabilitation sites as a result of, among others, petroleum distillate, petrol and cooking-oil spills. Rehabilitation of all four of these sites is ongoing, in addition to one additional site that dates back to 2015.
The N3 Toll Concession commissioned the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) Wildlife and Roads Project to analyse roadkill data on its behalf and to provide measures to reduce the impact of roads on wildlife.
During the period under review, the number of domestic animals involved in crashes went from 58 in 2014 to 45 in 2015 and 63 in 2016. The number of wild animals killed went from 128 in 2014 to 104 in 2015 and then to 203 in 2016. The most common wild animals at risk include servals, rabbits, jackals, porcupines and barn owls.
TRANS African Concessions (TRAC) routinely carries out environmental monitoring and rehabilitation of environmentally sensitive areas in construction sections along the N4 Toll Route. Slope-stability surveys were conducted during 2016 to monitor the stability of steep cuts and fills along the N4 and identify possible risk areas and mitigation measures.
Regular bio-monitoring has been done to monitor the possible degradation of the water quality of the Goedehoopspruit and Klein Olifants River crossings. At Goedehoopspruit, the habitat integrity improved compared with the baseline because of the removal of previous pipe culverts that restricted flow. The habitat integrity at Klein Olifants River remained unchanged compared with the baseline.
Basic assessments were done for the widening of the road at Elands Valley and a full environmental study was conducted for the widening of the Belfast-to-Machado Toll Plaza section. TRAC has received all required environmental- and water license-related approvals for the current and intended upgrading projects.
Greening the N4 is one of TRAC’s core CSI initiatives and has seen a vast number of trees and aloes planted along the road.
As part of TRAC’s CSI programme, donations have been made to assist environmental organisations such as Houtboschloop Environmental Action Link (Heal), which focuses on the removal of animal snares in the Elands Valley area.
TRAC’s route patrol agents have been trained to identify and provide information to the Endangered Wildlife Trust on wild animals killed on the N4 Toll Route, to enable them to create a database of animals and possible future mitigation measures.