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R40 million cheque to Lesotho for Maloti-Drakensberg TFCA

12 April 2010

On 9 April the South African Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi handed over a R40 million cheque to the Kingdom of Lesotho Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture.

MEDIA STATEMENT

09 APRIL 2010

Deputy Environment Minister hands over R40 million cheque to Lesotho for Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Park development

The Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi, today, 09 April handed over a R40 million cheque to the Kingdom of Lesotho Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Ms Lebohang Ntsinyi at Maseru Sun in Lesotho. The funds are for the development of the Maloti-Drakensberg Trans-Frontier Park (MDTP).

The Lesotho Minister requested South Africa to assist in sourcing seed funding for the upgrading of the 54 km Sani Top to Mokhotlong road as part of the Maloti-Drakensberg Trans-Frontier Park development. South Africa duly complied and succeeded in securing R40 Million from the African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund (ARF).

The R40 million is intended to serve as start-up capital which means that the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho will provide funding for the completion of the road and the total cost is estimated at R336 million.

This amount will amongst others cover topographic surveys, construction material investigations, hydraulic and hydrological surveys, design, environmental impact assessment, construction and supervision of construction. It is envisaged that the design phase will take about 18 months and construction work about 36 months.

More than five years ago, the Governments of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa signed agreements establishing the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation and the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA). The agreements created a platform for the development of joint projects which have mutual benefit for the people of the two countries. The adoption of the TFCAs Strategy for 2010 and beyond, focuses on positioning the transfrontier parks as Southern Africa's premiere international tourist destination.

In adopting that strategy, we were aware of multiple challenges facing our countries, such as inaccessibility of our tourism attractions and lack of adequate resources to improve our tourism assets.

“I take it for granted that we all know that we need good road infrastructure for facilitation of cross border movement of tourists and ecotourism development . Therefore, the two countries have prioritized the upgrading of the Sani Pass Road. The upgrading has been completed on the South African side. I would like to thank the African Renaissance Fund for availing R40 million for the upgrading of Sani Pass Road on the Lesotho side. Institutional arrangements will be put in place to ensure proper coordination of the project,” said Mabudafhasi.

The handover of funds was followed by a cross border clean up between Maseru and South Africa. The focus on border posts is important as they are points of entry for tourists using land based transport and often impact on a tourist's first impression of a country.

For media queries contact

Moses Rannditsheni: +27 (0)82 448 2450 or
Roopa Singh: +27 (0)82 225 3076

South African Department of Environmental Affairs

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