The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) hosted a momentous celebration in Tlokoeng, Elundini Local Municipality, on May 25, 2023, to commemorate Provincial Biodiversity Day.
With the theme “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity,” the event aimed to underscore the importance of preserving biodiversity and foster awareness about environmental conservation.
The main event, held at the Batlokoa Traditional Council in Hill Gate, Tlokoeng, witnessed an impressive turnout of approximately 500 attendees. Key stakeholders from various departments, including South African National Parks (SanParks), NJR Botanical Garden, Elundini Local Municipality, Department of Education, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, as well as members of the local community, gathered to participate in the occasion.
Phumla Mzazi-Geja, DEDEAT Senior Manager for Biodiversity Conservation and Coastal Zone, delivered the keynote address, highlighting DEDEAT’s commitment to serving as a catalyst for sustainable and inclusive economic development while promoting sound environmental management practices.
She emphasised the importance of enforcing environmental legislation, effectively managing biodiversity and providing environmental education services as part of the department’s Environmental Management Programme.
During her speech, Mzazi-Geja urged the community to recognise biodiversity as the foundation of their richness and encouraged collaborative projects that would benefit the entire community. She stressed the need for government support for these pilot initiatives and called on the attendees to advocate for such backing.
The festivities commenced on May 23-24, 2023, with engaging build-up activities within the Tlokoeng jurisdiction. These initiatives included tree planting campaigns and awareness programmes, all aimed at reinforcing the significance of biodiversity preservation.
Mr TC Heis, representing the Batlokoa Traditional Authority, warmly welcomed all the guests to the event. In his address, he expressed the community’s delight in hosting such an important occasion in their local area.
He echoed the sentiments shared by Thando Booi, DEDEAT Manager for Biodiversity Conservation and Coastal Zone, emphasising the month’s dedication to celebrating South Africa’s diverse animal and plant life.
Booi also educated the audience on preserving natural resources like rivers and mountains, stressing the pivotal role of cleanliness and environmental protection in boosting tourism within the community.
The Provincial Biodiversity Day commemoration in Elundini Local Municipality provided a vital platform to promote environmental awareness and nurture a collective commitment to preserving biodiversity.
DEDEAT’s mission is to be a Provincial catalyst for sustainable, inclusive economic growth and development through promotion, financing, empowerment, and technical support of development activities.