'Profit-driven' SANParks worries Wessa

2011-08-21 16:50

Skukuza - Underfunding from national government has resulted in South African National Parks (SANParks) being profit- instead of conservation-driven, warns the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa).

The organisation made the accusation in response to proposals to build a 240-bed hotel at the Kruger National Park's Malelane gate.

"SANParks cannot be like any other business because it is an organisation that the government should be supporting," said Wessa spokesperson Chris Galliers.

He said SANParks was the only conservation agency in the world that generated 85% of its funding from tourism while government contributed only 15%.

“This is a considerable achievement, but it is also a concern, because it means that the government only contributes 15 % of funding required for SANParks' efforts of conserving our natural heritage,” said Galliers.

He said government funding had also been steadily declining in the past decade and that the commercialisation of protected areas to make them financially self-sufficient placed unrealistic demands on their management.

“It seems that this is becoming a convenient way for government to abdicate its responsibility of securing the country’s natural heritage to its citizens,” Galliers.

Wessa has suggested that international role players also comment in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) relating to the proposed Kruger hotel project as SANParks was referencing international best practice guidelines in the proposed project.

On Friday, spokesperson for water and environment affairs Albi Modise denied there was a decline in funding for SANParks.

He said funding increased from R139m in 2005/2006 to R216.4m for 2011/2012.

SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli stressed that government's contribution of 15% to SANParks income was international norm.

“Yes, it is true. We are generating most of our income through tourism operations. This does not only apply to SANParks, but it is common practice in other parts of the world,” he said.

  • Horst - 2011-08-21 18:09

    Great! 100% self sustaining would be even better, much easier on the tax payer. And I don't see any conflict between tourism and conservation.

      Rijger - 2011-08-21 18:43

      Horst, we are speaking of our's as well as our children's heritage that is under threat here. If you are about wasteful spending, great. But then shouldn't you rather be spending effort on wasteful expenditure like state sponsored parties, overseas travel etc? If I remember correctly a figure of not R216.4 million was mentioned, but a staggering figure of R3,4 billion. Quite a difference, isn't it. The problem is really about the infrastructure of the Kruger. I visit the park every year for about two weeks, and can tell you that infra structure are already stretched. Now they want to start with hotels inside the park, what about the support systems? What about the character of the park that will be lost? Just have a drive through and you will see how many private lodges there already are. Book into Skukuza where another hotel is planned, you will most definitel not be aware that you are in a nature reserve with all the vehicles that is traveling around at night, not to say anything about the noise filtering through from town, etc. Where there was once beautiful gardens and lawns, there is nothing but barren earth. Ask why, you will also get told that there is not enough water to irrigate. Where will the water needed for that hotel come from? I really do think that commercialization of the Park should stop, government should start shouldering their part of the responsibility so that our heritage will remain just that, a heritage to be proud of.

      ariete - 2011-08-22 06:40

      @Horst, you are clearly not a regular visitor to the KNP

  • dan8472 - 2011-08-21 23:22

    Um... "it is common practice in other parts of the world" doesnt fly because other countries dont have such an extensive reliance on their parks as SA does, nor do other countries generate such a huge proportion of their tourism income from their national parks. Who have they compared this to? Germany? England? China? Zimbabwe? A stupid comment and one that shows governments total misunderstanding of the dynamics at play. More ANC stupidity I am afraid...

  • Sisie - 2011-08-22 07:47

    This is Africa - when you realize that everything that walks its ground is easy pray, then you will realize that the people of Africa don't give a rats ars* about conservation, when it no longer exists and everyone wonders why there are no tourists and foreign exchange then they will question - oh whatever happened, how do we fix this. Too late! Welcome to Africa!

      Foreigner - 2011-08-22 08:05

      yes, 100% agreed, I recently discovered that the major problem is the way that the vast majority of "africans" look upon education... They don't learn what they NEED to learn, they only learn what they WANT to learn, that is: for personal benefit and profit: A living example of this: Malema!

      daaivark - 2011-08-22 08:16

      Foreigner: Where is this wonderful source of your earth-shaking discovery... arguably one of the more arrogant bits of garbage this morning.

  • De la Rey - 2011-08-22 08:33

    This hotel is just as bad as fracking in the Karoo!! Just stop the greed. If necessary, government must give them a bigger budget. There is anough wasteful expenditure in our government to spend more on Kruger.

  • Wai-Szee Sing - 2011-08-22 10:00

    Its a case of the lesser of two evils... profit driven instead vs. drawing on tax monies. Id say profit driven is better, imagine what the sanparks would look like if they only had 15% of thier budget? And i think they also know they need to make such a development sustainable, without the fauna and flora, the hotel would be pointless :)

  • pages:
  • 1