In response to the international Covid-19 pandemic, South African National Parks (SANParks) has heeded the call of government and taken an initiative to distribute food parcels and hygiene products to destitute families bordering the Mapungubwe National Park in Limpopo.
Reuben Ngwenya, regional general manager of the northern region, said: "We are handing over parcels to 150 families in the Musina local municipality and the neighbouring Den Staat farm, which is home to the [descendants] of Mapungubwe.
"The pandemic has caused a negative impact on tourism and hospitality in general. Our national parks are situated in rural areas, adjacent to communities that are greatly affected by poverty, unemployment and a range of other socio-economic problems. These communities rely on the national parks for their survival, either through jobs and/or business opportunities."
The 150 parcels include a bar of soap, cleaning detergents, masks and groceries. A total of R13 million has been 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 SANParks, the SANParks Honorary Rangers and the United Nations Development Programme.
"South African citizens have been avid visitors to our national parks and this is our way of taking the national parks to our people. The organisation is aware of the crisis at hand and therefore, will try to use all efforts to meet our people at their point of need," said Ngwenya.