Communities close to SA national parks benefit from R2 million bursary scheme

Communities around national parks have benefited from a R2 million. Picture: File

Communities around national parks have benefited from a R2 million. Picture: File

Published Mar 19, 2024


Communities around national parks have benefited from a R2 million bursary scheme that saw 17 deserving university students get assistance to study this year.

The students, who come from six of the nine provinces across the country, were part of the South African National Parks (SANParks) community legacy programme.

SANParks says the programme is aimed at addressing a broad spectrum of community social needs.

The scheme covers full tuition, accommodation and a living allowance for the student whilst studying.

SANParks’ GM Media and Stakeholder Relations Rey T Thakhuli, said that the social projects were funded from the 1% tourism income levy, initiated in 2012 on all accommodation bookings, and provide a perfect opportunity for both SANParks and its guests to be philanthropic and assist in the creation of legacy projects in the communities around the park.

He said the project was targeting students who had applied to study in fields such as a BSc Biodiversity and Ecology, Bachelor of Environmental Sciences, Diploma in Sustainable Development, Diploma in Tourism Management, Diploma in Hospitality Management and Diploma in Business Management.

“This bursary scheme is in line with the SANParks Vision 2040, which strives to create protected areas and a protected area agency that is not only healthy, sustainable and climate-resilient but also instils a sense of belonging, healing, and inspiration among all South Africans,” said Thakhuli.

He added that the bursaries were comprehensive and for full-time studies towards an academic diploma or degree at an accredited public SA college or a university of technology/university.

“SANParks wishes these future scientists, hospitality managers, and even the future SANParks CEOs the best of luck as they embark on this exciting journey in conservation and tourism … This will assist in re-awakening national pride and establish world-class standards in every aspect, ensuring prosperity with tangible and intangible benefits flowing to all areas,” Thakhuli said.

In August last year, SANParks officially handed over a science laboratory worth R1.2 million to Jacob Mdluli High School at Makoko, a village outside Kruger National Park’s Numbi Gate, as part of the programme.

Other programmes include handing over of a fully equipped resource centre and library worth R1.5 million to Hout Bay Secondary School in Hout Bay, Cape Town, during December last year.

Saturday Star

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