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Veteran conservationist Michael Rattray is perversely delighted by Cape Town’s disastrous water shortage. The crisis may prove to be the warning flag that saves the rest of the country from a similar arid fate. "I’m liking Cape Town’s water shortage — it’s getting things going," he says. "SA has a serious water problem and it’s going to get worse across the rest of the country unless we start preserving it." Rattray, 86, is the former owner of MalaMala Game Reserve in Mpumalanga. He now owns SA’s first private water, catchment reserve, Mount Anderson, in the mountains above Mashashing (formerly Lydenburg). Rattray ran MalaMala for 52 years and recognised the need for action when the rivers dried up a little more every year and almost ceased to flow during winter, harming the flora and the wildlife. He hired a helicopter and traced the source of the rivers into the mountains and found the land was heavily overgrazed by sheep and cattle. Piece by piece, he bought farms and implemented...

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