Media Release: Conservation body launches community benefication project
The South African National Parks (SANParks) officially launched its first legacy Corporate Social Investment (CSI) project in the small village of Cork in Mpumalanga on the border of the Kruger National Park, today (25/10/2012).
The launch is part of SANParks' social ecology programme - initiated to re-orientate protected areas management away from an isolationist position towards an integrated approach. “It recognises the harmonious relationship our forefathers had with nature and their reliance on the gathering of natural resources for survival in a sustainable way,” said SANParks CEO,Dr. David Mabunda.
He spoke at the sod turning event of an administration block at Dumisani High School in Cork, Mpumalanga. The school situated on the border of the iconic Kruger National Park is the first beneficiary of the SANParks CSI project.
Dr. Mabunda said the new social ecology natural resource management approach ensured the establishment of a mutually beneficial partnership between local people and the neighbouring national parks, in pursuit of resource conservation use, and socio-economic development of local areas.“Fortress Conservation’s days are done and dusted. It is time for SANParks to give out - time to give back, for the cycle has turned and as happens when cycles turn, there’s very little you can do to stop it.”
He said as part of our new positioning and living up to our vision of ‘national parks - connecting to society’… “we are aligning and contributing to government’s mandate towards social development.”
According to Dr. Mabunda, a dedicated community levy*, introduced in 2011, was established to ensure SANParks' tangible benefit to communities living adjacent to national parks in bettering their livelihoods. In partnership with government departments, municipalities, local communities and other key stakeholders, “SANParks will invest resources in the establishment of legacy projects in communities, particularly in rural areas where our national parks are located.”
“These will include support through provision of required infrastructure and related resources in areas of education, youth development, health and other areas as identified with community stakeholders and relevant institutions.”
In conclusion Dr. Mabunda said that through these programmes and many others, SANParks will continue to develop reciprocal relationship between protected areas and neighbouring communities, making our national parks a true mirror of our society’s environmental values.
HOD: Public Relations and Communication,
Kruger National Park.
Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or
SANParks Media Specialist.
Tel: 012 426 5315 cell: 083 673 6974 or
*Community Levy: 1% Community Levy on all reservations (overnight and activity products). The levy will be used to fund projects that support surrounding communities in bettering their livelihoods, creating health and education facilities and assisting in kick starting water and sanitation projects in the communities.
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