The Biodiversity Stewardship programme is making progress with local communities, some of which are land reform beneficiaries. This initiative in land reform areas seeks to address the inequalities and injustices that the majority of South Africans were subjected to in apartheid times. In the past, local communities have often been only minor recipients of benefits generated by protected areas, as in most cases they have not been owners of either the protected area land or the tourist facilities on that land. The opportunity now exists for local communities, as potentially major landholders through the land reform process. It targets the socio economic benefits that can be pursued in stewardship projects where the landowners/users are poor outside of the traditionally state owned protected areas.  It is therefore implemented by means of entering into voluntarily agreements to ensure that landowners manage their areas in a conservation prudent manner.

In Mpumalanga, the WWF-SA Land Reform Stewardship Officer together with the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) as a mandated conservation authority has arranged stewardship site assessments and ensured that specialists advise on best management approaches for the land reform sites. All of these communities are directly dependent on their land for basic products and services such as food, shelter, clean drinking water etc. These communities also keep cattle and other livestock and as such, a healthy productive land is important for them from a livelihoods and legacy point of view.  Additionally, individuals from the different communities have been trained in veld assessments and how to manage other natural resources found on their lands such as wetlands.

 These communities have also voluntarily decided to pursue formal Biodiversity Agreements which are based on contract law. These agreements were concluded with the MTPA and were signed on the 03rd September 2013. The management agreements have already been signed between MTPA and the CPA’s and the draft management plan has been developed. We are currently busy with the content of the developed translated (Isizulu) Management Plans with the landowners, Provincial Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) and Provincial Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA).

The Chaiperson of the MTPA Board-Mr. William Lubisi, CEO’s of MTPA-Mr. Jacques Modipane, WWF-SA-Mr. Morne du Plessis and SANBI- Dr.Tanya Abrahamse as strategic partners will officially unveil the BA’s at an event scheduled as follows:


Date: Thursday, 18 September 2014
Venue: Ukuthanda ukukhanya CPA property(Between Wakkerstroom and Amersfoort)
Time: 10h00-15h00

Kindly RSVP with: Kholofelo Nkambule on kholo@mtpa.co.za
Tel: 013 759 5550

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