The MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Vusi Mkhatshwa, has assigned the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) as a management authority for the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains World Heritage Site, on behalf of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT).
The World Heritage Committee inscribed the naturally significant Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains on the global heritage list on 2 July 2018. The historic decision was taken at the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Manama, Kingdom of Bahram.
The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains became the 10th site in South Africa to be inscribed by the World Heritage body since the country became a member in 1997.
On 28 January 2021, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Ms BC Creecy, declared the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (the dedt) as a management authority for the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains Heritage Site, in terms of Section 8 of the World Heritage Convention Act, 1999 (Act No 49 of 1999).
MEC Mkhatshwa says, “Subsequent to the declaration of the Department as a Management Authority of the Site, I undertook a wider stakeholder consultation process, on 13 April 2021, with a view to consult all the relevant stakeholders”.
The MTPA will be required to report to the Department on the management of the Site as outlined in terms of the commitments made by the State Party, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment to UNESCO towards the inscription of the Site. The primarily commitment being the maintenance and protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains World Heritage Site.
“I would like to congratulate and thank the MTPA for its support and contribution in the protection, promotion, development and sustainability of our first ever World Heritage Site. I direct the MTPA to prepare and present to the Department, within thirty (30) day, a detailed three (3) year plan on how it will manage the World Heritage Site” added the MEC.
The mountains range which lies within the subtropical lowland region in the north east of South Africa contains the best preserve, oldest and most diverse sequence of volcanic and sedimentary rocks on earth, dating back to 3.5 billion years.
The MEC says government will continue to provide resources to maintain the status of the unparalleled and unique mountain range in the Southern tip of the African Continent in order to boost tourism.