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SANParks distributes food parcels to Eastern Cape communities

May 6, 2020
SANParks distributes food parcels to Eastern Cape communities

Kirkwood - The South African National Parks (SANParks) CEO, Fundisile Mketeni and the Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mlungisi Mvoko, on Wednesday handed over food parcels and hygiene products to 300 households living in areas adjacent to Addo Elephant National Park, in the Sundays River Valley Local Municipality.

They also handed over a further 800 food hampers to communities residing around other national parks in the region which includes Camdeboo, Karoo and Mountain Zebra National Parks, as well as the Garden Route National Park’s Tsitsikamma, Knysna and Wilderness areas.

They were joined by Sundays River Valley Municipality Mayor, Nombulelo Bixa and Speaker, Simphiwe Rune.

The 300 hampers were distributed between the 10 different communities bordering the different sections of Addo Elephant National Park from Alexandria along the Eastern Cape coast to Waterford along the park’s northern most boundary,

The impact of the lockdown on the tourism and hospitality industry in general has also affected national parks, which in turn resulted in huge losses in income for the many families reliant on tourism and related activities.

“National parks are not about animals only. Our staff and our neighbours make up a big portion of who we are and what we stand for. We therefore saw it fit to come on board when the government asked if the entire nation could join hands.

“We all know our parks are situated in highly depressed areas and we as SANParks need to do what we can to assist. We know it is not enough, but it’s a small contribution and we will continue to fundraise even hereafter,” Mketeni said.

The donation is part of the SANParks’ response to COVID-19, through which a total of R6 million will be used to purchase food parcels, hygiene products, education materials and water tanks. A total of 7 500 families will be supported nationally.

Funding for the initiative, which is being extended to communities bordering national parks countrywide, has been sourced from the SANParks Honorary Rangers and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all SANParks employees for staying home, for staying safe and for exercising patience during this trying period for our country. 

“An even bigger thanks needs to be extended to our staff who have been working from home where needed in support services and those who had to stay behind in our parks and ensure the safety and security of our fauna and flora,” Mketeni said.

On 24 April, Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy, led a similar initiative of distribution of food parcels and water tanks to vulnerable communities bordering the Kruger National Park in both Limpopo and Mpumalanga. 

Last week, on 30 April, Deputy Minister Makhotso Soyu delivered food hampers to 250 households living in areas adjacent to Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Free State. – SAnews.gov.za

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