Media Release: Camdeboo National Park Alleviates Poverty
The Camdeboo National Park surrounding the rural town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape is making a significant contribution to poverty alleviation and economic empowerment in the local community.
A considerable total of 21,229 person days of work has been completed through the People & Parks programme which is funded by Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism. In addition to this, the Working for Water programme, soon to be expanded in the Park, has contributed a further 1,270 person days to date.
“Job creation is a very important aspect of the benefits created by national parks and one which park management takes very seriously”, said Timotheus Webb, Camdeboo National Park’s Community Liaison Officer.
Four local SMME contractors have been created to tackle various projects within the Park. The labour component of these projects represents 33% of the contract values, totaling some R6.2 million. Each SMME is led by a contractor with a team of fourteen workers from the local community.
Springbok Contractors led by Jan Kane are engaged in a project to rehabilitate areas of the Park degraded by past overgrazing or developments such as old roads and buildings. This is achieved by planting spekboom (Portulacaria afra) cuttings which root easily and contribute significantly to carbon sequestration. Kane says his team has planted at least a hundred thousand of the plants since they commenced in September 2007 and would welcome any investment in the project by big business who would like to reduce their global warming debt.
Simon Ncenge of Buffalo Construction has led a project very successfully to rehabilitate the 4 650-hectare Winterhoek area which was recently incorporated into the Park. His team has demolished the unwanted infrastructure related to past farming enterprise such as fences, kraals, reservoirs and old buildings. J. Lomberg and Zebra Construction’s project concentrates on combating soil erosion by rock-packing gullies and building gabion structures in deeply eroded gullies.
A fourth team, Springbok Construction, under the supervision of Sias Smith, focus on alien vegetation management by injecting invasive alien plants such as American aloe and prickly pear with appropriate herbicides. These plants pose a threat to biodiversity conservation and have an unfavourable visual impact on the landscape.
The Springbok Construction team has also recently undergone training by the SANParks’ Table Mountain National Park project leader for trail development to equip them to construct a new trail in the Park.
Webb said that all four of these contractors comprise an efficient unit that could be used by private landowners to implement similar programs on their properties in developing private nature reserves and game ranches.
South African National Parks
Regional Communications Manager
Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Karoo and Mountain Zebra National Parks
Tel: (042) 233-8609 or 083 6508649.