Deputy Minister Ms Barbara Thomson hands over the Provincial Resorts and Reserves Project at Sandveld Nature Reserve in the Free State Province
28 August 2014
Today, 28 August 2014, Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson, handed over environmental and infrastructural projects completed in six nature reserves to the value of over R125 Million in the Free State Province. The projects created a total of 930 work opportunities, and formed part of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme (EPIP).
Deputy Minister Thomson said the investment was motivated by the strong link between biodiversity-preservation and tourism, coupled with the opportunity for job creation. She added that an amount of R248 500 000 would be further allocated in the new funding cycle.
“Biodiversity is the main catalyst for tourism growth and as a Department, we will always encourage this mutual beneficial relationship. In this relationship, both nature and tourism win, and economic growth is created.”
“A key constraint to tourism development in many provinces relate mainly to the improvement of tourism-infrastructure. The importance of the tourism system for economic development in the Free State has been clearly acknowledged in the development strategies and plans for the Province,” she said.
The six projects include Sandveld Nature Reserve, Maria Moroka Resort and Reserve,Sterkfontein Resort and Reserve,Willem Pretorius Nature Reserve and Tussen die Rivier Resort and Reserve and Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve.
The Department classified these projects according to seven focus areas, namely, Working on Waste, Working for the Coast, Working for Land, People and Parks, Wildlife Economy, Youth Environmental Services, and Greening and Open Space Management. 
The Department made use of labour-intensive methods as per the requirements of the Expanded Public Works Programme. Both accredited and non-accredited training opportunities were created, equipping locals with skills that make them eligible for other employment opportunities.
“Additional funding that will be allocated in the new funding cycle will not only create work opportunities but will also create the necessary infrastructure for waste management, infrastructure in the protected areas as well as encouraging greener environmental management practice,” the Deputy Minister added.
To access the Deputy Minister’s speech, click on the link below:
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 Refer to the Deputy Minister’s speech via the link below for additional details on these projects
 Working on Waste projects focus on waste collection, disposal and recycling initiatives.
- Working for the Coast projects focus on initiatives geared towards cleaning and rehabilitation of coastal environmental assets and infrastructure.
- Working for Land projects focus on restoration, rehabilitation and re-vegetation of degraded areas outside the protected areas.
- People and Parks projects focus on initiatives geared towards development of environmental assets and infrastructure within protected areas.
- Wildlife Economy is focused on fair access and equitable sharing of benefits arising from bio-prospecting involving indigenous biological resources.
- Youth Environmental Services is focused on recruitment and participation of youth in training, community services and placement into work and training opportunities.
- Greening and Open Space Management is focused on establishment of community parks and rehabilitation of open spaces.