The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson, will officially launch and handover the R10 million worth Mayibuye Game Reserve (MGR) in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday, 27 March 2018.

The project was funded and implemented through the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP), with an aim to guide the sustainable growth and provide a basis for addressing constraints to the growth of environmental sectors.

The Mayibuye Game Reserve is located in the Umkhambathini Local Municipality area. The local community, the Ximba people, were awarded a land restitution claim in terms of a settlement agreement in April 2007.

While South Africa is the third mega-diverse country, the biodiversity economy (in this case the wildlife and bioprospecting sector) has not reached its full potential in terms of contributing towards livelihoods and the economy of the country as it remains largely unrecognised, underdeveloped and untransformed.

The Mayibuye Game Reserve has made significant progress since the R10 million funding from the DEA. A 35 km wildlife fence has been erected, gate house and offices are being built, two houses have been refurbished, a commercial “Business for Good” site has been refurbished and wildlife introductions (zebra & wildebeest) have been initiated. The project has unlocked a further R100 million private investment for the development of the eco-estate.

A total of 76 job opportunities were created through the project, with 15 Field Rangers having been trained and employed. The beneficiary communities will have a 51% shareholding in the company, with an estimated monthly turnover of R 2.5 million.