Hosi Mahumani of Nkomo village outside Giyani demands that the government financially support Baleni Heritage site at his village in order to boost tourists appeal. He argues that the site was proclaimed by former President Nelson Mandela as one of the national heritage sites in the country therefore it could not be allowed to fail.
“It is contradictory and naive for the government not to support something that has been recognised and declared as a heritage site by our icon leader former president Mandela,” he said during the recent visit by deputy minister for the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism Fish Mahlalela.
Mahumani wants local community members that manufacture salt at the heritage site be supplied with modern equipment in order to do the job faster and also be helped to sell their products directly to the buyer without the involvement of a middleman.
In response, the MEC for the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism Thabo Mokone said his department has a CSI (Corporate Social Investment) funds which he could commit to help buy working tools of up to R200 000 after budget adjustment. “However, while we run around for funds to buy tools, you must also help yourselves by applying for help from other institutions that funds tourism related projects,” said the MEC.
Meanwhile the Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism Fish Mahlalela said the reason the country’s tourism industry was suffering was because of the nature in which it was conceptualised. “Our tourism industry was conceptualised and built on the availability of international market hence when the global world closed borders due to covid-19, we struggled to sustain ourselves because we’re too reliant on international market,” he said.
“We now realised that we need domestic tourism too in order to survive as a tourism industry hence we have developed a tourism sector recovery plan which we hope it will boost our tourism industry,” continued the deputy minister. According to him, this means the government now focus on activating domestic tourism sector in order to help boost recovery of local tourism industry.