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Socio-Economic Transformation

In 2017, SANParks implemented a Socio-Economic Transformation (SET) strategy which is guided amongst other principles, by the national parks which are strategically situated and will act as a catalyst for rural socio-economic development initiatives.

These development programmes are aligned with our Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan, where both marine and terrestrial protected areas that SANParks manages, contribute directly. We have engaged in improving the quality of life and having an impact on education and this has been our greatest social and economic investment in the communities where SANParks operates. We have implemented 49 projects and our primary focus has been on infrastructure provision in schools in order to support learning and development specifically to improve Mathematics and Science skills deficiency in rural areas.

We have also offered gardening training and tools for community members to create resilient agricultural practices and have assisted pensioners and unemployed youth in coastal areas with fishing permits, training and equipment. These initiatives will be expanded to include more vulnerable men and women as the protected areas SANParks manages to play a key role in securing food supplies.

Our parks have been a great place for kids to discover nature and exercise their imagination. They have been a place of physical recreation, healing and also mental relaxation for many community groups that need to get away from the urban hustle. Through our Environmental Awareness programs such as Kids and Parks and Kudu Green, we have provided free access to approximately +/- 30,000 and 50,000 learners and disadvantaged individuals every year.

The organisation has made huge strides and reforms to give small business enterprise (SMMEs) owners, (women and youth) equal rights to economic opportunities. Over the past three years, more than 2000 SMMEs were contracted at a total value of approximately R160 million to implement the SANParks-managed Expanded Public Works Program. On average, 12,000 jobs were created annually through this program.

The donations and loans of animals to the communities and emerging game farmers respectively have been a flagship program for SANParks over the past few years. The wildlife economy program strives to ensure short and long terms benefits to local communities and emerging farmers by enhancing their livelihoods through, for example, facilitation of access to markets while contributing towards wildlife conservation and inclusive growth.

We will continue to engage in collaboration opportunities and forge partnerships with strategic partners with whom we can be able to multiply our added value to our development agenda. For us, the value is not only in co-financing but in leveraging knowledge and expertise.