Golf club closed without warning

The Engineers Golf Club, Marievale,  closed its doors on January 17 without any notification issued to the club’s management or its members.

According to bystanders, Brigadier General Willis Nkosi arrived at the club on Monday and said that its doors had to be closed within 24-hours.  They said that the he did not give any reasons for the closure,  nor did he provide any documentation to support this decision.

It was further confirmed by DA Ward Councillor Wollaston Labuschagne that no mining license application , environmental impact study or public participation process was entered into.

HERAUT has, however, confirmed that prospecting rights were previously awarded in the area.

The club, situated at former Marievale Engineer Regiment between Nigel and Dunottar, has 180 active members of which 70% are civilians. It was first opened in 1951 and the grass of this course received its last cut on Monday.

The land currently owned by government.

“The general chased away all the workers and told us that we had to close the club down,” said concerned club member Willie Koekemoer.

“If I have to mow the grass myself, I’ll do it. This is unacceptable.”

Freshly cut grass

Freshly cut grass

Although Labuschange indicated that there was no documentation to support such claims, it is suspected that the reason for the sudden closure of the club has to do with an adjacent mine that has ambitions  to extend its operations.

Should this be the case, it will have a devastating effect on the neighboring Marievale Bird Sanctuary which supports more than 240 bird species, among them 65 waterbird species, including large populations of Reed Cormorant, Red-knobbed Coot and Yellow-billed Duck.

The sanctuary is also one of the best locations on the Gauteng map to see Goliath, Black, Squacco and Purple Herons and is the only Ramsar protected area in the province.

*More to follow

Michael Mentz

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