The South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), South African National Parks (SANParks) and Coal of Africa Limited signed an historical Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) as part of the environmental authorization issued in accordance with section 24G of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No 107 of 1998) to ensure the integrity of the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site on September 1, 2011 in Pretoria.
Amongst others, according to the MoA, the integrity of the World Heritage Site will be maintained through “comprehensive biodiversity offsets programmes, thereby optimising benefits to local communities”.
In the context of this MoA, the parties agree to:
- Promote alliances in the management of natural and cultural resources;
- Ensure compliance with the provisions of the MoA;
- Encourage social, economic and other partnerships among stakeholders;
- Promote integrated planning, research, education, awareness and capacity-building;
- Collaborate in formulating detailed biodiversity offsets programmes and implementation plans; and
- Provide adequate financial, human and other resources for the effective implementation of the MoA.
Regarding the detailed biodiversity offsets programmes to be developed, the MoA states that the programmes will be underpinned by, amongst others, the following components:
- natural heritage conservation;
- cultural heritage conservation;
- tourism development; and
- water resource management.
These components for offsets will be translated into more comprehensive programmes and implementation plans. To ensure implementation of the MoA, the establishment of an environmental management committee or steering committee, as well as relevant sub-committees, is envisaged.
- Further, the parties to the MoA agree to:
- Ensure periodic review and updating of the biodiversity offsets programmes and implementation plans;
- Ensure effective participation of other key stakeholders, including government and non-governmental organisations, communities, landowners, the academic community and the private sector at international, national and local levels in the implementation of the MoA; and
- Develop means whereby local communities sustainably benefit from the use of natural and cultural resources occurring within the World Heritage Site.