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Free State Business 2022

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FOCUS Environmental

FOCUS Environmental sustainability The Environment and Conservation Branch is working to promote a pristine environment that facilities economic transformation. FOCUS Environmental sustainability within the Free State Province is conducted within the prescripts of promoting Section 24 of the South African Constitution, recognising and promoting environmental rights as contained in the Bill of Rights. We also recognise our responsibility to promote a pristine environment that facilitates a transformative economic agenda to create jobs and a just society. The main focus areas are: • Environmental Quality and Protection: environmental education and awareness; waste and air quality management; environmental impacts and assessments; EPWP. Also promoting the circular economy with a particular focus on waste and recycling. • Biodiversity Conservation and Research: maintenance of resorts and reserves; protected areas maintenance and expansion; biodiversity research; game culling and auctions including the transformation and promotion of Biodiversity Economy; transformative entrepreneurship; development and promotion of the wildlife economy. Current considerations • Ensuring sustainable environmental management. • Improve national and provincial state of environmental reporting. • Integration of environmental objectives in national, provincial and instruments and tools. • Implementation of Chapter 4 of NEMA provisions in relation to fair decision-making and conflict management (conciliation, arbitration and investigations). Responding to EIA complaints and appeals without compromising on economic transformation, job creation and the promotion of spatial integration. Conservation priorities The Free State is 128 000km² in extent, or 12.8-million hectares. This means that it is the third-largest province in South Africa. Located in the centre of the country, with ideal soils and climate, the province is an extremely important food producer and the environmental health of the province is therefore vital to the food security of the country. The province boasts a strong conservation mindset, not only from within the DESTEA but also from land owners generally. Prior to the adoption of the Free State Protected Area Expansion Strategy there were already 240 formally declared Nature Reserves in the province. Since the inception of the Biodiversity Stewardship programme an additional 53 000 hectares of private land have been declared and added to the conservation estate. Priority focus is now on extending these conservation areas into the remaining natural areas of the province thereby conserving wetlands, rivers, terrestrial ecosystems and species for future generations. In addition to the formal conservation areas, there are over 300 000 hectares of game and mixed-species ranches. The province generates over R600-million per annum from the local hunting industry, which maintains many huntingsupport businesses such as taxidermists, curio producers, etc. ■ FREE STATE BUSINESS 2022 29 FREE STATE BUSINESS 2021 16

State Province FOCUS Growing the tourism sector Dr Mbulelo Nokwequ, Head of Department at DESTEA, outlines some of the Free State’s unique selling propositions. FOCUS The Tourism Unit of DESTEA is providing market access for local operators. Free State Province is situated in the heart of South Africa and DESTEA’s shares borders with Tourism Lesotho Unit’s and objective six other provinces. is to It provides easy access grow the tourism sector’s contribution to Free the State main economy. ports of In Durban, achieving East London and Port Elizabeth. The Free State this, is various an attractive activities business and functions and investment are destination. The performed, province is which at the include: centre of South Africa and the dominant sectors are • agriculture, Creating a mining, conducive manufacturing environment and for the tourism tertiary to sectors, making it ideal thrive for transport logistics and agro-processing. • Formulating and implementing a Provincial Companies locating to Free State not only enjoy the opportunity to Tourism Sector Strategy to guide tourism activities source inputs at competitive prices, but also to benefit from domestic, in the province regional and international markets for their products and services. • Providing market access opportunities both Because South Africa has been engaging with our economically large locally and internationally to provincial tourism • Promotion of tourism safety through among others, trading partners, access to international markets is facilitated through enterprises programmes such as the Provincial Joint various • Roll trade out programmes preferences and to enhance free-trade visitor agreements. services Operational and Intelligence Structure (Provjoints), As and far experience as long-term investment is concerned, there are with industrial law enforcement agencies, and also through parks • Facilitate and a Special and promote Economic tourism Zone (SEZ) education that are and supported implementing by the the Tourism Monitors Programme. Department capacity-building of Trade, for Industry the tourism and sector Competition. Industrial parks are • Promote situated in the Maluti-A-Phofung, culture tourism Botshabelo and service and Thaba Journey Nchu. to Service • an Excellence idyllic climate Maluti-A-Phofung excellence SEZ is situated in Tshiame. The J2SE will focus • recreational nominating and lifestyle a small town • The Promote Free State’s transformation strengths of for the inward tourism investment sector for are boosted in the rural by: tourism facilities. nodes and assisting the • • • • openness inclusive tourism business, economy, trade and as well foreign as providing investment abundance support to of youth natural and resources women in tourism • low Facilitating factory rentals events tourism to reduce seasonality Africa’s and enhance leading geographic telecommunications spread network town to develop a service excellence-orientated culture in their Select organisations investment opportunities and different structures with include: strong media attention and focus during the activation. • Agriculture A town and will agroprocessing be identified • • • of Service Excellence will be • incentive Facilitate packages funding uniquely for initiatives developed that for seek Special to Economic and the Zones principles incentives develop and associated grow tourism with the in the revitalised province industrial parks communicated • to all Tourism organisations. and property A criterion has Free State Development Corporation (FDC) support services been for developed development for the nomination which priority sectors such as agro-processing and manufacturing has been shared • Medical and discussed and pharmaceutical with relevant • • a large labour pool diverse cultures stakeholders. production A number of and activities distribution will be implemented • Manufacturing anticipation of the big media • competitive land and building cost event to launch • Renewable J2SE Town. and clean energy • world-class transport and telecommunications infrastructure At its core, • the Medical J2SE aims tourism. bring together the entire town including restaurants, accommodation facilities, tourist attractions, police, banks and petrol attendants, among 7 others, to be informed, FREE trained STATE and BUSINESS exposed 2020 to the four components of the SANS 1197:2012. A secondary objective of this programme is to establish a local Tourism Service Excellence structure or to link with existing structures to build a sustainable service culture. ■ FREE STATE BUSINESS 2021 1728 FREE STATE BUSINESS 2022

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