Makulekes host World Environment Day celebrations


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World Environment Day was officially celebrated in South Africa at the Makuleke Village, neighbouring the far northern region of the Kruger National Park (KNP). With the national theme "Our environment belongs to all who live in it", the deputy minister of environmental affairs and tourism, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, praised the Makulekes and held them up as an example to others.

The Makuleke community won back the rights to land in the KNP after a successful land claim seven years ago. Since then a joint management board comprising three KNP staff and three community members have managed the Makuleke Contractual Park. The land is north of the Luvuvhu River in Kruger, and is home to tourist developments such as The Outpost, Wilderness Safaris and Eco-Training.

Also attending the event were the director of the park, Bandile Mkhize, Limpopo MEC Collins Chabane, the executive mayor of the Vhembe District Municipality S Moeti, and Chief PJ Mgakula of the Makuleke Tribal Authority. "Tourism, specifically what is termed "Eco-Tourism", is a profit-driven mechanism that enables us to generate income for the sake of preserving our rich natural heritage. But, and I would like to caution those that look on conservation areas for unlimited benefits, that tourism has to be managed in a responsible and sustainable way.

That is the bottom line. Money has to come anyway, but the priority must at all times be the conservation of biodiversity in our case," says Mkhize. Mabudafhasi also launched the national Greening Programme, which will see the planting of trees around the country, especially in rural areas. She said that the country is healing from the injustices of the past, and needs a healthy environment to do so. She encouraged people to participate in public-private partnerships to this end.

World Environment Day was officially celebrated in South Africa at the Makuleke Village, neighbouring the far northern region of the Kruger National Park (KNP). With the national theme "Our environment belongs to all who live in it", the deputy minister of environmental affairs and tourism, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, praised the Makulekes and held them up as an example to others.

The Makuleke community won back the rights to land in the KNP after a successful land claim seven years ago. Since then a joint management board comprising three KNP staff and three community members have managed the Makuleke Contractual Park. The land is north of the Luvuvhu River in Kruger, and is home to tourist developments such as The Outpost, Wilderness Safaris and Eco-Training.

Also attending the event were the director of the park, Bandile Mkhize, Limpopo MEC Collins Chabane, the executive mayor of the Vhembe District Municipality S Moeti, and Chief PJ Mgakula of the Makuleke Tribal Authority. "Tourism, specifically what is termed "Eco-Tourism", is a profit-driven mechanism that enables us to generate income for the sake of preserving our rich natural heritage. But, and I would like to caution those that look on conservation areas for unlimited benefits, that tourism has to be managed in a responsible and sustainable way. That is the bottom line.

Money has to come anyway, but the priority must at all times be the conservation of biodiversity in our case," says Mkhize. Mabudafhasi also launched the national Greening Programme, which will see the planting of trees around the country, especially in rural areas. She said that the country is healing from the injustices of the past, and needs a healthy environment to do so. She encouraged people to participate in public-private partnerships to this end.



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