Employees at SANParks joined their conservation colleagues across the globe to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5, which was celebrated with the theme, a "Green Economy: Does it Include You?.”
According to SANParks media spokesperson, Reynold Thakhuli a green economy can be looked at as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. "This is in line with SANParks vision of connecting to society."
The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)'s working definition of a green economy sees it as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
Thakhuli says SANParks creates 'Green Jobs' as part of its Working for Water projects, which falls under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) aimed at providing poverty and income relief through temporary work for the unemployed. The EPWP employes an average of 5,300 people per annum.
The EPWP in SANParks has grown from a R25 million allocation in 2001/2 to R195 million in 2011/12. Today, all national parks benefit from the EPWP. Antoinette van Wyk, general manager: infrastructure and special projects SANParks said “the majority of jobs we have created are green.” Under the EPWP, SANParks has nine different projects.
“The three major objectives of this project are biodiversity management, strategic infrastructure development and social investment,” said van Wyk. SANParks employs 3,650 on a permanent basis. With temporary staff, employment increases to 4,600 jobs.