The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa led an Inter-Ministerial site visit and public awareness initiative on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) which was on Friday, 29 April 2016 in Bensonvale College, Sterkspruit, Eastern Cape.
The purpose of the site visit and public awareness initiative was to showcase to the public and demonstrate to the political heads the extent of desertification as well as the relevant strategies implemented to address the challenge.
Sigwela and Associates is the implementer of a pilot land rehabilitation project funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs that was show cased. This project falls under the Working for Land focus area which is an Expanded Public Works Programme.
The objective of this project is to address the impacts of desertification, land degradation, drought, rehabilitation and restoration. The project also aims to address food security and to help with job creation, small business development and skills development in the area.
The areas that the project is targeting include Jozana’s Hoek, Magwiji, Sunduza and Jozana’s neck. The project entails erosion control, rehabilitation of dongas, construction of gabion structures, and re-vegetation of the area through the planting of shrubs grass that is indigenous to the area and trees.
To contribute to food security, the project has ploughed 2000 fruit trees to afford the community a business opportunity on the upcoming government plan to develop the Mega Agri-Parks.
Desertification is land degradation in dry-lands that affects biological productivity as well as the livelihoods of millions of people. It is caused by a combination of human and natural factors that contribute to an unsustainable use of natural resources which include soil, water, air, vegetation, solar and wind energy.
The visit was also graced by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Mr Senzeni Zokwana and Department of Public Works Minister, Mr Thembelani Thulas Nxesi.
Media was also invited to cover the event and will be afforded opportunities for photographs and interviews.