President Cyril Ramaphosa says the successful implementation of land reform must take place alongside initiatives that will ensure inclusive economic growth.
The President was speaking at the launch of the Ha Matsila Development Trust Project in Limpopo on Saturday, where he announced donations of wildlife to the project and handed over title deeds.
President Ramaphosa was accompanied by Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, who form an interdepartmental collaboration for the project.
The Matisla Trust project is an initiative by the Matsila Royal household and the Ha-Matsila community, drawing strength from its government and private sector partners, to develop their land and bring in funding and investment to the Matsila community.
To do this, the President highlighted the wildlife economy as an opportunity for growth.
President Ramaphosa said it was time to clear barriers such as insufficient finance, inefficient land use, a lack of skills and experience to allow access to the sector.
“Overcoming these barriers requires coordinated efforts from government, the private sector and communities. As part of its contribution, SANParks has undertaken to donate 3000 head of game to emerging wildlife farmers in the next three years.
“Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife pledged to donate 1,200 head of game over four years, and the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency promised to donate 1,500 animals in support of transformation over the next five years,” the President announced.
The Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism also pledged to donate 1000 animals to communities as part of the government support framework.
While Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Authority pledged 80 head of game per year.
In addition to the donations of wildlife, the President handed over title deeds and financial compensation to successful land claimants.
“These opportunities need to be developed alongside the acceleration of land reform, which is crucial for inclusive economic growth. We will be handing over a cheque to the value of R168 million to the Mphaphuli Traditional Authority for phase 1 of their claim,” said the President.
This claim covers a large part of Thohoyandou town, including the Venda University of Technology and the Thohoyandou Botanical Garden.
President Ramaphosa said the Botanical Garden will continue to be operated for conservation purposes by the South African National Biodiversity Institute for the benefit of the entire nation, but the economic spin-offs will accrue to the Mphaphuli Traditional Authority.
“We are also handing over a cheque of R77.3 million to the Gomondwane community in respect of their Kruger National Park land claim. This is in addition to the claim settled in 2016,” said the President.
Through its Enterprise Incubator Programme, the Department of Small Business Development approved eight projects since 2016 to the value of R45 million for the construction of shared economic infrastructure.
Completed projects include the Matsila Shared Economic Infrastructure Facility and Matsila Incubator.
In addition, the Limpopo Wildlife Business Incubator has secured funding for the first wildlife incubation programme in the country amounting to R8 million.
The Trust was recently assisted by the Department of Environmental Affairs with infrastructure funding to establish a 300 ha game farm for breeding high value species.
President Ramaphosa said these initiatives will be replicated around the country as part of the nodal approach to development.
“This requires a partnership among government, the private sector and communities. Through this work, we will realise the great potential of our natural resources and the boundless abilities of our people,” he said. –