Expanded Public Works Programme
SANParks Biodiversity Social Projects (BSP) programme has three main objectives: namely, poverty relief, community upliftment and contribution to biodiversity management in National Parks, Integrated Zones and other Protected Areas. Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) projects are mainly funded by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), with the Department of Tourism (DT) funding Tourism Monitors and infrastructure.
EPWP encourages entrepreneurship and mainly uses SMMEs in alignment with the ‘Working for/on…’ programmes, mentioned below. These EPWP teams primarily work on SANParks land and appoint members from local communities who are working towards becoming independent contractors. The projects are informed and comply with the conditions of the National Expanded Public Works Programme.
Over the last decade, SANParks EPWP programme created and sustained 35,676 temporary jobs, using 1,400 SMMEs to implement the various activities in National Parks and Integrated Buffer Zones.
Working for Water
Established in 1995, Working for Water (WfW) is a globally acclaimed programme which aims to remove Alien Invasive Plants and thereby mitigate their impacts on water quantity and quality, biodiversity and the functioning of natural ecosystems. SANParks has been one of the biggest implementers of this programme over time, and to date did initial clearing of 500,000 hectares and follow-up clearing of over 2 million hectares of land.
Working for Ecosystems
The Working for Ecosystems (WfE) teams specialise in erosion control and rehabilitation of degraded land, and attending to bush encroachment. The objective of this programme is to ensure that degraded ecosystems are restored and able to maintain and support the natural species of that system.
Working for the Coast
The Working for the Coast (WftC) Programme was established to help deal with challenges in line with the Integrated Coastal Management Act 28 of 2008. The programme focus areas are cleaning of beaches, rehabilitation of coastal systems and maintenance of tourism infrastructure, including the Blue Flag status of some beaches in South Africa. WftC teams are employed in the eight coastal national parks and maintain beach clean-up of 394 km of coastline.
The Environmental Monitor (EM) programme was started by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) in response to challenges of high levels of unemployment adjacent to conservation areas, coupled with increases in illegal wildlife trade. The programme aims to increase conservation capacity within SANParks, provincial and private reserves and adjacent areas towards area integrity (through monitoring, patrols and environmental education) while simultaneously improving well-being. SANParks was appointed as the national implementer of the programme after its inception in 2012, and has remained responsible for a large part of the programme through the implementation of the SANParks and Inland Cluster Coordination projects that employ 500 and 840 Environmental Monitors respectively, i.e. a total of 1,340.
The Eco-Furniture Programme (EFP) was established in 2012 with the aim of making optimal use of the biomass cleared through the Working for Water project, thereby creating work opportunities to make products that would assist Government meet its needs. The EFP is structured to implement the entire process from harvesting of large trees, processing the harvested timber into planks at the wet mills, drying the planks in kilns and processing the planks into mainly school desks in the dry mills. To date, the seven mills have produced 370,000 desk components and delivered over 200,000 complete desks to schools in disadvantaged communities around the country. Other products that are manufactured include: eco-coffins and other furniture items. Unemployed people from local communities received extensive training including carpentry, chainsaw training, machine maintenance, tree felling and health & safety compliance.
Working on Fire
The programme’s main mandate is Integrated Fire Protection and employs more than 5,000 fire-fighters from previously disadvantaged communities throughout South Africa. The participants are trained in prevention and fire suppression skills. The WoF programme plays an integral part in stopping the danger of wildfire throughout South Africa. SANParks is not the implementer of the programme, but hosts fire-fighting teams at various fire bases established in National Parks. These WoF teams are critical to implement fire prevention, as well as fire control measures. High Altitude Teams employed by WoF are deployed in participating parks and are highly trained and skilled workers trained to remove trees form inaccessible mountainous terrain.