The Ingula Nature Reserve has officially been included in the International Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
This international acclaim is the culmination of many years of hard work by Eskom and its partners, BirdLife South Africa and Middelpunt Wetland Trust, on the preservation of the wetland that hosts Eskom’s Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme.
The partnership, established in 2003 high on the Drakensberg and straddling both the KwaZulu Natal and Free State borders, has received this international acclaim as a pioneering example of how Industry and Non-Government Organisations can operate towards achieving environmental conservation sustainably.
A Ramsar designation elevates Eskom to an acknowledged international power utility, contributing directly towards environmental sustainability and meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
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While the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) required Eskom to conserve the unique wetland and high altitude grassland area, Eskom went the extra mile and ensured the formal protection of the 8,084 hectares with the attainment of a formal declaration as a Nature Reserve in May 2018.
Deidre Herbst, Eskom Generation Environmental Manager, said: “This honour cements Eskom’s, and its partners’ commitment to environmental sustainability and shows that industry can co-exist sustainably with the environment.”
“The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries have been very supportive in the process. This is an exemplary and beneficial partnership between DEFF, Eskom and the Ingula Partnership (Eskom, BirdLife South Africa and Middelpunt Wetland Trust).”
The nature reserve is located within severely threatened ecosystems of grasslands, wetlands and escarpment forests and is host to several hundred species of flora, birds, reptiles and mammals.
The inclusion of the Ingula Nature Reserve in the International Ramsar Convention demonstrates Eskom’s commitment to South African environmental sustainability, and contributes towards South Africa’s conservation targets by protecting the biodiversity, in particular threatened, rare and endemic species indigenous to the area.
Ingula is one of the largest industry-owned nature reserves in the country, and Ingula is the 27th official Ramsar site in South Africa and the only one in Eskom.