CAPE Legacy Project launch

Almost 20 years ago, a group of government and civil-society organisations got together to form Cape Action for People and the Environment (CAPE).

They shared a vision of conserving and restoring the biodiversity of the Cape floristic region and the adjacent marine environment, while also benefiting society, socially and financially.

On Friday March 1, about 50 members and affiliates got together at the Old Mutual Centre at Kirstenbosch to mark the start of the CAPE Legacy Project, a participant-driven evaluation of the past 20 years.

“It’s time to reflect on the legacy of these partnerships and to explore what has transpired and lessons learnt along the way. More importantly, it will aid us in looking forward,” said Sue Soal who is a consultant on the team undertaking the Legacy Project.

Overall management of the project falls under the SA National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).

SANBI programme officer Malukhanye Mbopha said the whole idea was about “holding land and protecting it in partnership with people and government and by conserving this land that is linked to agriculture and tourism, in water scarce and eco sensitive areas”.

Ms Soal said that in the past there had been many areas where people had not been allowed to go.

“We were kept out or had to go to great lengths to gain access. This has changed, transforming the way we think about protected areas and the need to conserve them. And in so doing we have more land conserved, and more people involved in undertaking conservation.”

CAPE will spend the next two years assessing the impact it has had over the past two decades.

For more information about the CAPE Legacy Project, contact Malukhanye Mbopha at 021 799 8404; email, or Sue Soal at sue@