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Source: Limpopo Provincial Government
Title: S Moloto: Tourism Summit
WELCOME ADDRESS BY MR SELLO MOLOTO, PREMIER OF LIMPOPO, DURING THE
TOURISM SUMMIT AT THE RANCH HOTEL, Polokwane, 7 September
CEO of South Africa Tourism
Members of the Executive Council
MPs and MPLs present here
Mayors of District and Local Municipalities
Our Traditional Leaders
Representatives of the Business Community
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
It is befitting to be convening this summit in a month, which has
been declared tourism month. There is going to be a hype of
activity in this province around tourism during this month.
On the 24th of this month we will be converging at Mapungubwe to
officially launch the Mapungubwe National Park, whilst on the 27th
we will be celebrating the International Tourism Day in Phalaborwa.
We hold a strong a belief that these activities will contribute
towards exposing and harnessing the tourism potential of our
Throughout the world tourism is regarded as a major job creating
sector in the modern day economy. It is said that out of eight
tourists who visit the country, one direct and three indirect jobs
Our province is renowned to be endowed with natural resources,
unique heritage and scenic beauty. We take pride in having the two
of the national orders derived from our province, i.e. the order of
Mapungubwe and the order of Baobab, which indeed affirm our
province and people as being resilient, steadfast like the Baobab,
and striving for excellence as was in the ancient Mapungubwe.
History has it that the first civilisation occurred in Mapungubwe,
which straddled over the confluence of South Africa, Botswana and
Zimbabwe. The great Mapungubwe is recorded in history as one of the
flourishing Iron Age Metropol, which traded in gold, ivory and
animal skin in the whole of Africa and the far flung nations of the
east including the Chinese, Indians and Arabs in the middle-east.
This happened long before Africa was conquered and colonised.
The forthcoming launch of Mapungubwe National Park on the 24th of
this month in the Province will contribute immensely to the
formation of yet another major transfrontier conservation area, the
Limpopo Shashe Park, which will include Botswana, South Africa and
Zimbabwe in the northwest linking with the Greater Limpopo Park
towards Mozambique to the east. The challenge we face as the
province is how then do we reclaim and restore the historic pride
of our province that is being the cradle of Ancient Mining and
In the context of being a link and gateway to Africa, we should and
must ensure that our province's strategic location, being in the
centre of SADC, our development is geared towards realising this
objective. We have got all the reasons to pursue this path of
development, because we are following the tracks and footprints of
our forbearers. For it is within reach, possible and it can be
The Modjadji dynasty remains the only royal house in Africa where a
woman reins supreme as a Queen, with some supernatural powers
capable of making rain, stands out as yet another distinguishing
feature of Limpopo.
Just a day ago and every year during Easter pilgrimages of more
than 3 million people converge in Moria city for prayers. These
people are drawn from all over SADC Countries, like Lesotho,
Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia
and as far as Malawi.
In entering the city every one is filled with the spirit of
holiness and peace. They all feel at home in this province and have
got a very strong spiritual attachment to the province and they
have a very strong spiritual attachment to the province. This
pilgrimage contributes in more ways than one towards the well being
of this province as their spiritual domicile like MECA of Saudi
Arabia is to the Muslim Community.
Unfortunately, as the provincial government and the Tourism Board
itself, which is tasked with the responsibility to promote tourism
attraction centres in the province, the issue of Moria has never
been given the necessary prominence it deserves.
The Process of declaring Dzata in Vhembe and Tjate in Sekhukhune to
the status of world heritage sites is well underway. On the 16th of
this month we will be unveiling the statue of the warrior King
Sekhukhune I in Tjate.
We have said before that our rich cultural and artistic diversity
is the strength, which has never been exploited to its fullest
potential. As one travels to many centres in the country, the
floors and corridors are decorated with the art and craft from this
province. One wonders where these crafts are taken from and who are
the people involved in this artwork, and most importantly whether
the crafters and carvers benefit from their talent and toil.
In this regard, we are faced with a challenge of creating a better
environment for this talented sons and daughters of Limpopo to
thrive in a beneficial manner.
We have said in other forums that our tourism promotion strategy
has always been focusing on the outside world, particularly Europe.
We don't blame anybody for this because this is the legacy of
colonialism we are called upon to contend with. This attests to the
fact that even the linkages, which are there, particularly flight
linkages, will follow colonial patterns. You will find that if one
wants to fly to Cameroon, you first have to fly to Paris in France
in order to connect back to Cameroon, and the same may be said for
Angola and many other African countries who still have strong links
with their former colonisers than their neighbours.
It may sound like a joke that Orlando Pirates football club could
not honour its match with one of the clubs in Cameroon precisely
because of difficulties presented by the flight routes or
connections. This then brings into sharp focus the relevance and
the amount of work that needs to be done in order to ensure that
objectives of African Renaissance and NEPAD are realised
Very little has been done in tapping into the potential of the
local or domestic market. An example thereof is that of one MEC who
despite growing up in Phalaborwa, could only enter the Kruger
National Park for the first time in his life around 1995 when he
was already working, whilst the Phalaborwa Kruger gate is less than
5km from his home.
The only experience he had about Kruger National Park has been
whenever the wild animals forced their way out of the Park into the
villages and caused havoc by killing people and domestic
We have a responsibility to develop a tourism strategy, which
embraces a stronger domestic content and the regional focus, as we
are the heartland of SADC. For this is within reach, possible can
and should be done.
Every Friday you find a convoy of vehicles driving from Gauteng
Province to Zimbabwe and further North, the same occurs every
Sunday on their return journey, a phenomena which will be common in
all other routes from Botswana and Mozambique. We must as Limpopo
take full advantage of our gateway status through building on
people to people contact, which must include cross-border trade.
Already towns like Musina in the far north of the Province are
being maintained through trade with people in the southern part of
Zimbabwe. The same cannot be said of Polokwane because the majority
of people from Zimbabwe will prefer Johannesburg to
We haven't as yet taken advantage of the fact that Polokwane is the
fastest growing city in the country, and that in fact the goods,
which these people are looking for in Johannesburg, can be readily
available in Polokwane.
The potential of our towns particularly those along the N1 road
would have to be developed and nurtured in order to respond to
these new opportunities, which have not been fully explored.
Our tourism strategy and promotion has not been aggressive enough
in order to unlock the tourism potential in the province. Very few
people know that more than two-third of the Kruger National Park is
in our province, and the bigger part of Waterberg district has been
declared a biosphere by UNESCO, whilst Zoutpansberg is in the
process of being declared a biosphere reserve.
We have given an example of one the MECs in the province who grew
up without interaction with the tourism industry. This would
obviously hold true for many black South Africans, particularly in
this province. Tourism has historically been perceived to be a
preserve for white people.
Every one of us is aware of both the legislative and policy
imperatives in terms of BEE. We hold a firm view that this industry
is also bound to South Africanise in order to do the right thing
i.e. bringing on board the historically disadvantaged
We are acutely aware that these groupings will naturally not have
the requisite skills relevant to this industry. There should be a
deliberate effort to ensure that these skills are developed in
order to meet the challenges of our day and time.
Government is in the process of commercialising the 54 nature
reserves, which we have in the province. Our people should take
advantage of these opportunities, which can then be used as an
entry point into this industry. We take it that the
commercialisation process is going to be rejuvenating and
revitalising the potential of these game reserves and thus
providing the possibility for the broad based BEE and employment
opportunities for our people.
There is a talk about the appropriate location and seat of the Pan
African Parliament. Without putting the cart before the horse we
are unable to see any appropriate location and seat of this
parliament except Limpopo. We have given an elaborate account of
what happened in the historic Mapungubwe metropole and how this
province has historically been a gateway to the whole of Africa and
the world. It is therefore difficult to comprehend how this
generation of leaders can simply neglect and ignore this historic
For now we will at this stage leave everything to our forbearers
and ancestors to judge, because we have argued that it will never
be correct for our development to follow the colonial patterns.
These colonisers worked very hard to destroy both our history and
heritage. In this regard the provincial government is working on a
package, which will include a bid for the seat of the Pan African
Parliament, the building of the International Convention Centre and
the development of our 3 airports i.e. Polokwane International,
Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa.
We hope that this preliminary work will be concluded in good time
to provide the possibility for its inclusion in Provincial Growth
and Development Strategy.
We are the gateway to Africa. Our development plan should reflect
Let us leave here more inspired and consider ourselves fortunate
that we call this province home, and equally lucky that we have
been called upon by history to make a contribution to her well
being in various capacities in which we serve. For it is this work,
which we do, which will continue to strengthen and galvanise the
foundation, which we are building for the coming generations.
Let us go out there to work very hard in order to reach this goal
of human fulfilment. For it is within reach, possible can and
should be done.
Issued by: Office of the Premier, Limpopo Provincial
7 September 2004