MEC for LEDET Launches Reserve Renewal Project (RRP)

Jul 11, 2014

LEKGALAMEETSE; LIMPOPO: On 11/07/2014, MEC for LEDET (Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism), Mr. Seaparo Sekoati, and Acting LTA (Limpopo Tourism Agency) CEO, Ms. Seipati Tlaka, launched Reserve Renewal Project  (RPPL) at Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve. The event was attended by Stakeholders, beneficiaries, Senior Government officials, Community and Tourism Industry leaders.

The Reserve Renewal Project (RRP) is a deliberate and strategic intervention by the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and LEDET aimed at addressing the current infrastructure backlog of state owned Nature Reserves. The Acting CEO of Limpopo Tourism Agency, Ms. Seipati Tlaka, said, “The main focus of the project is to restore, renew, develop and maintaining the aging and dilapidating reserve infrastructure in the Province and to keep the reserves competitive while giving tourists value for money but most importantly,  to live up to our promise of being Accessible, affordable and Incredibly Wild.”

The RRP is a joint EPWP (Expanded Public Works Programme) initiative between the National Department of Environmental Affairs and LEDET, with LTA as the implementing Agent. The RRP is another EPWP initiative by Government amongst other things aimed at giving our people who do not have any work or little work experience an opportunity to get quality work exposure and attain certain skills in the process.

The difference in this EPWP initiative is the fact that the 615 work opportunities were created using equitable share by the department and not only the EPWP allocation from Public Works Department. This is money that could have been used to appoint consultants or private companies to do the work but Government chose to empower local communities in the vicinity of these reserves with work opportunities while transferring skills which they can use in future to improve their living conditions and those of their families.

Other opportunities will include land restoration through removal of invasive plants and bush encroachments removal which may create secondary business opportunities such as charcoal, firewood and etc.

DEA and LEDET have successfully implemented this programme in fourteen (14) nature reserves on fencing projects for Thabina, Wolkberg, Masebe, Modjadji, Nwanedi, Rust De Winter,  Letaba Ranch, Potlake, Blouberg, Hans Merensky and Doorndraai and road maintenance for Thabina, Makuya, Rust De Winter and Lekgalameetse, which all created six hundred and fifteen (615)  work opportunities during the 2013/2014 financial year. Eighty four percent (84%) of the people employed are youth and four percent (4%) comprises people living with disabilities.

In his State of the Nation’s Address, the State President, Mr. Jacob Zuma, stated that the tourism sector should increase its tourist target to 15 million by 2019. The MEC for LEDET Mr. Seaparo Sekoati, said, “It is my belief that we are on the right path towards making a valuable contribution towards the realization of this goal.

As a Province we are confident that with improved infrastructure and easy access to most, if not all state owned nature reserves, the Province will be better positioned to make a substantial contribution to the economy and growth of the industry both locally and nationally.”

The projected impact of funding is provided below:

NAME SCOPE OF WORK CURRENT JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Masebe
  • Upgrading of 40km fence.
  • Installation of 3 boreholes
  • Development of staff accommodation
  • Development of tourism access road
30
D’Nyala
  • Upgrading of entrance gate.
  • Rehabilitation of the three hides
  • Rehabilitation of office and staff accommodation
Lekgalameetse
  • Construction of a restaurant
  • Upgrading of 12km access road
  • Upgrading of 50km fence for Wolkberg and Thabina
  • Development of walking trail
64
Nwanedi
  • Upgrading of 55km fence.
  • Rehabilitation of old mines of 28ha
  • Upgrade of access road
  • Development of picnic site and day visitors facility
30
Letaba
  • Building of staff accommodation
  • Upgrading of fence
60
Makuya
  • Building of staff accommodation
  • Road maintenance
60
Doorndraai
  • Building of staff accommodation
  • Upgrading of fence
60
Rust De Winter
  • Building of staff accommodation
  • Upgrading of roads  fence
60
Thabina
  • Upgrading of fence
60
Wolkberg
  • Upgrading of fence
60
Hans Merensky
  • Upgrading of fence
30
Modjadji
  • Upgrading of fence
30
Potlake
  • Upgrading  of fence
20
Blouberg
  • Fence upgrading
30
LEDET
  • Conservation Learnership
21
TOTAL 615

 

A day before (10/07/2014),  the MEC and Media were given first-hand experience of the Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve, where the event was held. The MEC was given a  Helicopter tour of the Lekgalameetse Nature Reserve and neighboring Wolkberg and Bewaarskloof Nature Reserves where future plans include dropping of fences in both Nature Reserves to be incorporated into Lekgalameetse to create a bigger and better conservation area. Other activities on the day included Fire Management (demonstration by Working on Fire on : working on fire high altitude and fire fighters), 4 X4 adventure which will include a visit to Haffenden Heights and Crags which is highest point of the reserve whereby you can see parts of the Mpumalanga Province and a better scenic view of Tzaneen town.

At the launch on Friday (Day 2), 11/07/2014, MEC for LEDET, Mr. Seaparo Sekoati, addressed media and the workers from the 11 reserves and emphasized the importance of EPWP initiatives in Provincial Reserves and a commitment to fight degradation and the protection of ecosystem services that are provided by these Reserves. Socially the programme provides an important avenue for labour absorption and income transfer to poor household in the short to medium term and also creates awareness for government commitment to improve management effectiveness in the Provincial Reserves.

Participants in this event included relevant Municipalities, media, EPWP workers from eleven (11 reserves), communities, Department of Agriculture, Treasury, LEDET as well as Department of Public Works.

The MEC for LEDET, Mr. Seaparo Sekoati, said: “This is a prestigious departmental launch of the programme that is placed high on Government agenda to address a noble goal of job creation with special reference to youth, women and people with disabilities in line with the State of the Province Address by our Premier, Mr. Stanley Chupu Mathabatha. The launch today is held under the backdrop of the 3rd Phase of EPWP (2014-2019) which marks the beginning of EPWP implementation for the new Government cycle”.

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