SANParks hands over laboratories to future scientists

NOVEMBER 30, 2015

The South African National Parks (SANParks) officially handed over two science laboratories at the J.A. Calata Secondary School in Cradock in the Eastern Cape last Friday.

Each of the laboratories will, as from next year, provide suitable learning environments for 32 learners in Physical and Life Sciences.  Whereas the classrooms were previously only sparsely furnished with tables and chairs, the learners now have fully-functional desks with all the infrastructure necessary for experiments and learning. 

The initiative is part of SANParks' Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives which aim to support the communities who stay adjacent to national parks (Mountain Zebra National Park in this case) by providing them with infrastructure and related resources in areas of education, health and other identified needs.

Speaking at the handover, SANParks CEO, Fundisile Mketeni, said “Historically, conservation in South Africa was aimed at preserving isolated pockets of biodiversity with no consideration to socio-economic factors affecting communities living within close proximity to our protected areas.  However, our new thinking today with regard to managing conservation is done in consultation with the people who live along the borders of our national parks.”

Funds for CSI projects are raised through a 1% Community Levy on all reservations for accommodation and activities, which then support the surrounding communities and SANParks’ vision of “A sustainable National Park System connecting society”.

This CSI project handover follows a number of others over the past few years, such as the Rietfontein Computer Laboratory next to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape and the Emang Mmogo Science Laboratory near Mokala National Park also in the Northern Cape.  In the Frontier Region we provided new beds to the dormitories at Spandau High School in Graaff-Reinet, which has Camdeboo National Park bordering the town and we also handed over a computer laboratory to Sandisulwazi High School near Addo Elephant National Park.   

In closing, Mketeni urged both the educators and learners to take care of and use the new facilities responsibly. “We as SANParks call upon you, the beneficiaries of these facilities to take good care of them. Take pride in these laboratories, make use of them and guard them with respect and for future learners,” he concluded.