What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels in Kruger?

General Information & Discussion on Hotels in Kruger
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Richprins
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Re: What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels?

Post by Richprins » Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:44 pm

Don't want to bring more politics into it, but Ex-Premier of Mpumalanga (1994-99) during Kruger's transformation, or part thereof, interestingly said yesterday that .gov should stop blaming Apartheid for its problems ... O**

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Polit ... a-20131008
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Re: What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels?

Post by Richprins » Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:53 pm

In case there was any doubt as to the Political leanings of SANParks, this reply from an "authorised" commentator Sept 20 2011:

3. Is this a purely Sanparks initiation, or are there other "stake/shareholders" on board?

Why is this question asked? Suggesting that SANParks does not take public participation seriously? Or is the question asking if a particular group was asked? We find it very strange!
Irrespective, Yes and public participation is at different levels:
a. We are a state institution – representing the majority of South African voters;




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Re: What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels?

Post by Lisbeth » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:18 pm

H. erectus wrote:
Lisbeth wrote: I think it is unique in the world and it works! Also because the population, taken as a whole, has a lot of good old fashioned common sense
The Kanton system Lis, I stand to be corrected!!!

Lis it is noted that this country is the most democratic
country in the world, the people got their total freedom!!

Is this correct??!! I disagree 'cause we leave all decision
making at the voters hand. The moron above will decide
what you need!!!

Ask any legible voter, food or conservation, what do you want??

Ag politics again!!!!
I don't know if I have understood what you mean :-? But the "morons" are a minority in this country!!! ^0^
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

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Re: What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels?

Post by H. erectus » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:23 pm

You got my drift Lis,.... your place is limited with
this disposition in life!!!
Heh,.. H.e

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Re: What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels?

Post by H. erectus » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:27 pm

Richprins wrote: Yes and public participation is at different levels:
indeed,....
Richprins wrote:. We are a state institution – representing the majority of South African voters;
,

When it suits you!!!
Heh,.. H.e

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Re: What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels?

Post by Richprins » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:54 pm

Reply from Gerhard Smit to SP comments on Aikona:

It is not my intention to start a media row with SANParks, however but I am of opinion that this is an effort to brush AIKONA down/cut us to size. I am therefor of opinion that AIKONA should have the oppportunity to state our side to the public.

The Afrikaans version is from page 9.

Gerhard Smit
Convenor AIKONA group.






Opinion piece on Aikona
Back to all news
Date: 7th October 2013
The South African National Parks (SANParks) was not surprised by the call made by AIKONA – a non-governmental group objecting to hotel developments in the Kruger National Park last week requesting the Public Protector to investigate certain issues that they conclude amount to “maladministration”. The issues range from the bonuses paid to the executive management, to the composition of the board, to the so called “commercialization” of the Kruger National Park (KNP) and they are also – questioning why the executive should be paid bonuses while rhinos are being poached.
AIKONA is rather surprised about this article as we decided to follow the advice given by te SANParks CEO in May 2012, suggesting that we follow the legal route in our attempt to stop the hotel development. However we are not at all surprised about the style of this document as it is typical of the way in which the SANParks communications department handle/address any opposition. .
Firstly, AIKONA has every right to exercise the public interest right like any citizen as directed by the constitution of the republic however such a right should be executed without maligning the reputation and integrity of SANParks and its employees. Unfortunately AIKONA is on an ideological and political warpath to protect apartheid era conservation legacies by projecting the current leadership at SANParks as out of sync with its mandate, incompetent, corrupt and reckless.
As often before, the apartheid era is raised again I ask the question why? I also ask was what was done <1994 in any way harmful for conservation or nature? Instead the flagship which SANParks inherited was the result of care and dedication.

Where did AIKONA ever say that the current leadership is corrupt, we merely requested that comments made by the Auditor General be investigated.

The choice of conducting their malicious accusations in certain publications raises more questions than answers. This is a clear indication that AIKONA’s interests are only focused on one section of the population. We view this as only a well-designed strategy to peddle their smear campaign to retain past privileges enjoyed by certain sections of the population in every which way and frustrate any form of transformation that seeks to open the park system to the entire nation.
The above statement is clearly a malicious attempt to put AIKONA in poor standing by uninformed readers.
Where did AIKONA state that we are against transformation. Where did AIKONA ever state that our interests are only focused on one section of the population or is an effort to retain passed privileges enjoyed by certain sections of our population. I am on record where I said at a function where a SANParks representative was present that the restriction on visitors to our National Parks in the past was wrong, our National Parks should be open to all members of our population.
I raise the question about what is SANParks doing to accommodate those less affluent persons who would also like to overnight in the KNP, these planned hotels near Malelane and in Skukuza are most definitely providing facilities for the richer visitor; most definitely not for those mentioned by me.
I am not aware of a smear campaign, however I am well aware that we have always stated that we are supporters of our National Parks but we also have objections to some of the decisions made and actions taken.

This is an indication of a group of people using every tactic to abuse a Section 9 institution in order to achieve a vested ideological and political agenda, Again the well used cliché of a vested ideological and politcal agenda under the disguise of public right. AIKONA has no political agenda; however one gets the impression that SANParks is not squeaky clean in this respect. under the disguise of a “public right”, hence they were the first to tell the whole world that SANParks is being investigated even before the Public Protector communicated with us. See comments about the SANParks CEO recommendation, unfortunately AIKONA does not have the luxury of a legal department and unlimited funding.

The documents were all delivered on 19 September 2013, they were delivered to the Public Protectors office at 09:15 and at approximately 10:00 to the CEO SANParks office. AIKONA were therefore well within our rights to make the matter public.


We should also mention that AIKONA had previously approached SANParks using Promotion of Access to Information Act, requesting information similar to the accusations they are throwing at SANParks. This information was prepared accordingly and is still awaiting collection by AIKONA.
The request was made by AIKONA in an effort to obtain information required, however then SANParks afterwards came up with a bill of R14000.00 for the required information. Such funds are not within our means.
SANParks has nothing to hide. Salaries of all staff from the general worker to the CEO are determined by the board using independent specialists. The CEO’s salary, which was singled out by AIKONA, was last benchmarked with 17 other public entities in the “large entities” category and was found to be between the median and upper quartile. The comparative analysis took into consideration factors such as size of the business (estate), turnover, assets and number of countries in which it operates. SANParks is a complex organization with a diversified business ranging from conservation, climate change, a large tourism business offering 16 000 beds per night, inter-governmental relations at all spheres of government, community and social issues.
Should the salaries offered be so competitive and comparable I raise the question why did the situation arise where the KNP Rangers have to go on a strike lasting three months amidst the Rhino poaching crisis about wages? My reply is because the SANParks CEO bonus for the period 2011/2012 amounted to R498000 = 18.6% of total package, 12 Rangers could have been paid by this, while for the period 2010/2011 it amounted to R588000 = 22.3% of total package, 15 Rangers could have been paid from this.

We believe that all these factors, along with the CEO’s on going good performance given 10/10 clean audits the organization achieved under his leadership justifies the emoluments paid to him.
Why is obtaining a clean audit nowadays regarded as such a great achievement, just do it right.
We are puzzled by the call to investigate the composition of the board; this is also not the competency of SANParks. Board members serve at the invitation of the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs.
True conservation experts are very thin on the SANParks Board. Surely the composition of the SANParks Board is discussed and recommendations made before the Minister would appoint the members. An example is the removal, a few years ago, of the WESSA delegate from the SANParks Board.

The debate on so-called commercialization of the KNP has been going on since 1927 after the KNP’s proclamation as a national park in 1926 viz. building hotels, shops, electrification of tourism facilities, establishment of restaurants having tarred roads, swimming pools, providing air-conditioning and a lot more other things to make the visit pleasant were frowned upon, but today people are enjoying those facilities. The fact is conservation and tourism are intertwined and have evolved over time.
AIKONA agrees that conservation and tourism are intertwined, however the line regarding utilization has to be drawn somewhere. A scientific study by UNISA carried out in 2003 indicated that the southern part of the KNP is already overutilized.
The current Hotel development is considered an extension of the Commercialization process that commenced in approximately 2000 which amongst other included the establishment of “up market” concessions / lodges with exclusive traversing rights. This not only made the KNP “more exclusive” in terms of the previously disadvantaged and middle class South African but was questionable in terms of its lawfulness – the PWC audit report of June 2001 states
“Breach of NEMA Principles: The SANParks could be in breech of NEMA principles with regard to the current commercialisation programme and especially the concessions within SANParks including the granting of large tracts of land with exclusive traversing rights. This programme constitutes a significant shift in policy and programme…….In terms of the Environmental Management Principles it is argued that the SANParks has not taken into account the interests, needs and values of all interested & affected parties of the current commercialisation programme, through a due public participation process. As an organ of state the SANParks has a responsibility for the environmental consequences of policies, programmes, projects, processes, services or activities throughout its life cycle. The social, economic and environmental impacts of activities, including disadvantages and benefits, had to be considered, assessed and evaluated, and decisions had to be appropriate in the light of such consideration and assessment. …..

Implications: Breaches of the National Environmental Management principles may lead to legal liabilities and severe damage to the SANParks’ public reputation as custodian of valuable national assets. Although never tested in court before, any person or group of persons may in the public interest institute and conduct a prosecution in respect of breaches of NEMA principles. It may also severely harm the credibility of the Eco-tourism industry in South Africa”.


Today SANParks serves a diverse group of tourists both local and international and to stay competitive it strive to offer a variety of products hence the two proposed hotel developments in KNP. Anything built in a national park, whether it is road, bridge, airport or hotel has to adhere to strict standards of architecture, sense and character of the place. The hotels will be built lodge-style and will blend with the existing infrastructure.
Hotels in the KNP will convert the park into just another holiday resort. SANParks have failed to produce any evidence from any opinion or need survey which indicates a need for hotels in the KNP, despite surveys done by the T&L faculty of the North-West University on request by SANParks. These often done surveys indicate that <80% of the respondents indicated that the KNP should remain as is and that there is no need for hotels. There are facilities available in the concessions for those who require more than what is on offer by SANParks. These concessions have an occupancy rate of <50%.
Banff National Park in Canada have indicated that that too much commercialisation is the wrong way to go. Banff found their over commercialisation an enormous hindrance and they have mounted an exercise to seriously scale back on their commercialisation, but with great difficulty. Since then, Yosemite National Park in the USA, have also announced that their commercialisation was also done without prior good decision making and it hampers the good running of the Park.

The current executive has been innovative in how they finance conservation without relying much on money from the taxpayers. SANParks generates 85% of its operating budget its tourism activities not forgoing its core mandate which is conservation.
AIKONA on the other hand is advocating a thesis that says the state should pay 100% for conservation.
Where did SANParks come across this untruth, statements like this dilute the whole of the SANParks justification and arguments regarding their commercialization decisions. This statement is ridiculous (sorry). The state has a responsibility to make a contribution towards conservation, do we not refer to SANParks as South African National Parks? SANParks have also stated in documentation in my possession that the hotel development is in line with their policy since 2002, nowhere is the word “hotel” mentioned in the the 2002 documents. This is also not what the SANParks Managing Executive – Tourism told me during a meeting held at Groenkloof during May 2011.
SANParks have indicated that they are expecting a return of R800000 per annum for the first three years from the MSR, this seems very little in return for such a huge sacrifice.

How is that possible in country with so many developmental needs? We do not believe pursuing a responsible tourism and sustainable development agenda is an enemy of biodiversity conservation.
Of course responsible tourism and sustainable utilization is not an enemy of biodiversity conservation. However how can SANParks justify the MSR with 24/7 access 10 km from the nearest entrance gate when amongst others the highly endangered Swazi Impala lily will be affected together with the accompanying light and noise pollution during daytime and the hours of the dark as well as the potential increase of road kills of animals 24/7 during the shuttling of visitors and staff and deliveries to and from the entrance gate at Malelane. These movements also increase the potential risk of any other untoward occurrences.

Hotels are not biodiversity of conservation. There is suitable terrain available south of the Crocodile River for hotels which could then also be to the benefit of surrounding communities.
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Re: What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels?

Post by Bushcraft » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:03 pm

I’m not a member of AIKONA, but think that this is brilliant ^Q^ ^Q^ ^Q^ ^Q^ ^Q^ ^Q^

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Re: What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels?

Post by Flutterby » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:04 pm

Well said Gerhard! \O \O

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Re: What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels?

Post by H. erectus » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:07 pm

Thank you for taking a stand Gerhard. You are true!!
Heh,.. H.e

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Re: What is the situation/progress with the proposed hotels?

Post by Lisbeth » Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:20 pm

This is the kind of answer that I like!!!
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