The South African National Parks (SANParks) launched an initiative to distribute food parcels and water tanks to vulnerable communities bordering Marakele National Park in Limpopo.
Spearheading the initiative,SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni revealed that because of the national Covid-19 lockdown, tourism, the main source of income for these communities, had dried up and this affected the well-being of the families reliant on national parks for an income hence their decision to try and make their lives a little easier in these trying times.
“Most national parks, if not all, are situated in rural areas affected by poverty, unemployment and a range of other socio-economic problems,” said Mketeni.
“These communities rely on the national parks for their survival, either through jobs or business opportunities. This period requires all of us to join hands to assist the most vulnerable members of society in our country.”
According to a SANParks media release, the funding for the initiative, which is being extended to communities bordering national parks countrywide, was sourced from SANParks, the SANParks Honorary Rangers and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“A total of R13 million will be used to purchase food parcels, hygiene products, education materials and water tanks,” read the release.
“A total of 7 500 families will be supported nationally.”
The food parcels included a bar of soap, cleaning detergents, masks and groceries each.
“We will ensure that these donations benefit families that have been identified as vulnerable during this unprecedented time,” said Mketeni upon handing over the donations.