Only when it takes over

Declaring war against the invading Robinias.

The invasive Robinia tree has recently taken over big areas in our Clarens Nature reserve, particularly in the Titanic area, and in the valley below the Scilla and Maluti View trails. The CVC decided to use extra casual labour for two weeks, working with our own Rangers to cut the trees and treat the remaining roots with herbicide.

The Robinia has long thorns which makes cutting and handling a difficult task. Even the firewood collectors shy away from the cut wood.

The CVC will now make it a priority to find and cut more “lonely trees”, and regularly patrol cut areas and stop any further growth. The application of herbicide is unfortunately not 100% effective and follow-up is important.

The 2 weeks clearing project has cost the CVC R13 000.

It remains the goal of the CVC to keep our beautiful natural surrounds in good state, and we appeal to our residents to support them. Donations are not only welcome, they are essential.

The CVC Robinia clearing team. Piet (3rd from left) and his casual workers together with two of our rangers.

Left to its own device it will grow into a tall tree…

…and produce some flowers as well!

The Robinias form an extremely thick bush, obviously unaffected by the current drought.

Very good progress has been made.

Cluny created their own Sweepstake!

They have 1000 tickets available for sale.

Each ticket will cost R100.

Thus, R25 k up for grabs!

Why would they run a Sweepstake?

According to the spokesperson for the Cluny Animal Trust, the National Lottery Commission no longer shares funding to animal welfare charities like the Cluny Animal Trust, which prompted them to make their own luck and raise funds themselves!

This is how it will work

As of the May 1, 2019, until 31 July 2019 they will have 1000 tickets available for sale.
Each ticket will cost R100 and 75% of the funds raised will go to the Cluny Animal Trust with which much-needed veterinary services will be delivered to the animals of the poorest of the poor in the eastern Free State.

What is in it for you?

25% of the funds raised will go to a single prize winner! 
That means if they sell all 1000 tickets someone (maybe you) can win up to R25,000!

The draw will take place on 5th August 2019.

You can select your ticket number/s (providing that the number you want is available otherwise they will select one for you) and there is no limitation to the amount of tickets you can purchase.

Don’t let geography stand in your way because they can email you a copy of your ticket, so you don’t need to worry about getting a physical hard copy.

If you would like to purchase a ticket/s please contact

Our first Parkrun drew in the crowds!

The Parkrun craze took hold of us as well. The first Parkrun in Clarens was held on 30 March, 2019. Runners were let loose at 08:00. Many followed at a slower pace. It is about fun. It is about starting our day well.

Bruce Fordyce explains how Parkrun came about

Parkrun was founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt on 2 October 2004 at Bushy Park in London, England. … In 2004, Sinton-Hewitt was unable to run due to an injury.

He founded Parkrun because he wanted to continue to spend time with his running friends.The first ever event was in Bushy park, Teddington, UK, where 13 intrepid parkrunners got together on 2 October 2004. 

It took nearly two years before Parkrun spread beyond Bushy. Wimbledon was the chosen venue. Now many hundreds of thousands of parkrunners are processed, websites updated and millions of emails sent each week. 

The parkrun community is growing all the time – but it’s all still based on the simple, basic principles formed from the start: weekly, free, 5k, for everyone, forever.

See you next week!

An ongoing water crisis threatening the survival of Clarens as we know it

A letter from the chairman of the Clarens Community Forum, Ray Meyers

”Dear Residents, Home and Business Owner
The Clarens Community Forum (CCF) is the single parent body representing all the forums in Clarens being the Clarens Tourism Forum, Clarens Rate Payers Association, Clarens Village Conservancy, Clarens Chamber of Commerce and the Combined Churches in Action. Together these forums represent the majority of Clarens residents, businesses, schools, churches and non-profit organisations. This letter of appeal stems from an ongoing water crisis threatening the survival of Clarens as we know it. The CCF has engaged with Dihlabeng Municipality for several months in order to address solutions to the crisis to no avail. We therefore have no alternative to address the crisis as a community and ask for your assistance in ensuring continued water supply. The situation with our proposed solution and appeal follows.


  1. Our village, including the three surrounding estates, is supplied with water extracted from the Little Caledon River and stored in the Townlands dam. This river has been dry for 4 months.
  2. The alternative source keeping us going is the TCTA Lesotho Highlands Water scheme; water is extracted at the station built for this purpose and pumped to the Townlands storage dam.
  3. The rate of extraction from the TCTA Lesotho Highlands Water scheme is currently 11 liters per second, or 1 mega liter per day, sufficient for 66% of the water usage of the village and surrounding estates, which is 1.5 mega liter per day. The balance of the water usage is extracted from the Townlands dam which is draining very quickly.
  4. If the drought continues and should the rate of extraction from the scheme remain constant, we estimate that we have approximately 50 days of supply left.


  1. The pump and motor at the extraction point of the TCTA Lesotho Highlands Water scheme can be replaced with a larger pump and motor plus about 3 meters of modified pipe, to deliver an increased capacity of 44 liters of water per second.
  2. The pipeline between the pump and the Townlands dam has the capacity to handle the increased volume.
  3. The switch gear needs to be modified to handle the new motor size.
  4. Such an upgrade will take 2 weeks to install.


  1. The responsibility of the upgrade lies with the municipality. The pump station was formally handed over by TCTA 20 years ago.
  2. The municipality has no funds for this project and would appear to underestimate the severity of the problem. To date no water restrictions have been implemented and no requests have been issued to the residents to conserve water.
  3. Through actions of residents and the CCF, the Department of Water assessed the situation and have undertaken to attempt to implement the solution.
  4. We expect a response from the Dept of Water Affairs on this matter by mid-Feb. Should the upgrade be agreed to, the timeline for implementation if initiated immediately, is end of Feb. Any delay in initiating that implementation would obviously have a knock-on effect.
  5. We are of the opinion that there is a high probability of supply of potable water from the Townlands Dam being exhausted by the end of Feb/ mid March. The presence of algae and weeds in the water makes the last meter or so unpotable.


  1. Three independent professionals have verified the solution; the cost has been quoted at R150k.

What can we do

  1. It is obvious that we need to raise the R150k as a community and act quickly to avoid running out of water completely.
  2. We are asking for donations from Clarens residents, business and home owners to enable us to implement this solution. Any amount is welcome. We have had pledges ranging from RlOOO – RSOOO from guest houses , R2000 – RlOOOO from businesses, R200 – R2000 from residents.
    Any donation towards this project can be paid into the trust account of Japie de Clerk, a local lawyer in Clarens.
    These are the bank details:
    JC de Clerk Trust, First National Bank, Bethlehem code 230133, Ace no 62403285837 Please use {Name/ Pump} as reference.
    Should the Dept of Water initiate the project timeously, all the donations will be held in trust to be utilized by the CCF and community for urgent repairs and maintenance to failing infrastructure, e.g. pumps needed to ensure continued supply of water.
    Should they Dept not initiate the project, the probability of any donations being refunded is highly unlikely.


  1. The equipment at the TCTA Lesotho Highlands Water scheme extraction point belongs to the Municipality and we don’t currently have permission to change it.
  2. We will seek this permission and do not anticipate resistance. However, if it is denied we can initiate urgent legal action to have the courts instruct the Municipality to
    allow us to do the upgrade.


  1. Should we achieve success in this endeavor, the funds will be managed by Japie de Clerk.
  2. Karel Meyer, a local businessman and CA, will provide monthly statements.
  3. Local fund raising projects have been initiated as well to ensure that we get to the amount required.