Minister Nkwinti unveils Zuurberg Peace Memorial
On the 25th of April, the Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, unveiled the Zuurberg Peace Memorial Project near the Addo Elephant National Park in Addo, in the Sundays River Valley Local Municipality.
The initiative forms part of the Zuurberg Integrated Tourism Corridor project that was pronounced by the Minister in April 2013 and is being implemented by the Department of Roads and Public Works, Cacadu District Municipality, its local municipalities, economic development agencies, SANParks and the Khoi San community. It is expected to benefit the communities of the Sunday River Valley and Blue Crane Route local municipalities.
Dignitaries present at the unveiling included Cacadu District Municipality Executive Mayor, Khunjuzwa Eunice Kekana; Portfolio Councillor, Nonkqubela Pieters; Sundays River Valley Local Municipality Mayor, Mbulelo Kebe; Makana Local Municipality Mayor, Zamuxolo Peter, their councillors and officials as well as local traditional leaders.
In his speech, Minister Nkwinti said that the peace memorial will ensure social cohesion among the Khoi, the San and the AmaRharhabe communities in the area.
He highlighted that the unveiling commemorates an event that occurred in the 1800’s when there was a war between the Dutch, AmaRharhabe, the Khoi and the San.
“This gathering signifies that a peace memorial will be erected here that will tell the history of this area particularly about a war that was fought over this portion of land,” he said, adding that the peace memorial will be a tourist attraction site and will ensure economic development in the area.
Executive Mayor Kekana said that, “This monument is significant in the history of this area. It will remind us not to forget our history. We at the Cacadu District and its local municipalities are excited about this project.”
Rural Infrastructure Development’s (RID) Deputy Director in the Eastern Cape, Phakama Booi, said that the department bought 55 hectares of land, worth more than R1.7 million, to construct structures linked with the memorial, including a pathway from the Zuurberg hotel to the memorial site, an interpretation centre and parking.
She said that the project is estimated at about R30 million and that construction is expected to start before the end of this year.
Khoi San Paramount Chief, John George, thanked government for the initiative.
“Development is welcomed here because our people are still poor. We need transformation, economic freedom and better jobs,” the Chief stressed.
Among other dignitaries that graced the event was Chief Dondashe of AmaRharhabe Kingdom, who also welcomed development in Zuurberg and surrounding areas.
“The history of apartheid was oppressing, but unlocking development in this area will benefit our children and generations to come. Our children need to know where we come from in order for them to cherish and preserve what we have fought for,” he said.
Addo Elephant National Park General Manager, Norman Johnson, was confident that the project will have a huge impact on tourism in the area.
“We will be in partnership with the department in ensuring the success of this project and this will also create jobs for the local youth,” he said.
Other initiatives that fall under the Zuurberg Integrated Tourism Corridor project are the Ndlambe Stockenstroom Heritage Site Development, the construction of the R335 road, which connects Addo and Somerset East in the Blue Crane Route Local Municipality as well as the Somerset East Airfield
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