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MEC Motara unveils economic and tourism plans for Mansieville residents in the West Rand

THE DEPARMENT of Economic Development, Tourism and Infrastructure in Gauteng to turn one of Munsieville historical house’s as a Heritage Site.

Used as hide-out during Apartheid days, the depleted house whose roof has been destroyed by weather – was a home to many Umkhonto we Sizwe cadres, were revolutionary missions took place and plans to escape to other countries such as Botswana, were formed.

This was confirmed by the MEC of the department Tasneem Motara, in the company of former veteran soldier Petrus Mhlanga, who was in pain for having been forgotten by the government.

Being declared a Heritage Site, this liberation house will be used as a tourism route, for it has thick history, for the people of the West Rand and visitors alike.

The likes of the late Surge Mokonyane and Mosebetsi Sekutu, including Mhlanga and others, this was their home as they were hunted down like dogs by Apartheid agents and impipis, since it had a bunker that could accommodate 10 to thirteen cadres.

Currently unemployed and receiving pension, Mhlanga alluded that the roof was severely damaged by bad weather last year and since then, has not being repaired as he has no financial means.

“I live from hand to mouth, and the little I get, is for food and other necessities,” says the tall but a bit frail Mhlanga, who still stays in the same house, alone, since 1978.

 “To tell the truth, we’ve been forgotten for the role we’ve played in ending Apartheid in this country, and I hope, with the visit of the MEC and declaring this house a Heritage Site; I pray she means well and things will be better and my health will improve,” he told this reporter after an inspection.

 In acknowledging the shortcomings, the MEC said they would engage with other national departments to fast track the process of the declaring the house a Heritage Site.

“We do admit a lot could have been done to better the lives of the likes of our veteran ubaba Mhlanga, and others, but since we’re here in the West Rand, we will turn things around and engage with other liberation stalwarts, who are still alive, to provide that much needed help and also source guidance from them as well,” says Motara.

“Tourism and communities co-exist and as the department, we create conducive environment for all citizens who live in it, to benefit from various upliftment projects the department has undertaken to better their lives such as job creations in our communities and also as part of Township Economy revitalisation,” she says.

Image supplied (The house in Mansieville that will be declared a Heritage Site. Standing next to it is the owner far right- Petrus Mhlanga, Mansieveille Tourism association chairperson Kwame Moroeng and MEC Tasneem Motara).

The MEC was in Munsieville on Wednesday morning, as part of Gauteng Tourism Roadshow in the West Rand, accompanied by chief executive officer for Gauteng Tourism Sthembiso Dlamini and representatives of Government entities that support tourism in the province.

The roadshow, which aimed to showcase the West Rand’s leisure tourism experience, was made possible by the collaboration between the GTA, the Cradle of humankind World Heritage Site and various West Rand District tourism stakeholders.

The day kicked off with a gathering of all stakeholders at the home of the Cradle’s cycling community, Bidon Bistro, where the MEC reflected on the importance of supporting cycling, not only as a leisure activity and popular sport in Gauteng, but as a significant income generator for local communities and businesses in the Cradle.

Munsieville, is one of Gauteng’s oldest townships and home to the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

The MEC, complaining of sore-joints having took a brief cycle from Bistro, joined the West Rand local tourism association in completing the painting of one of the oldest churches in Africa that was built in 1917.

Kwame Moroeng, chairperson at the Munsieville Tourism association says tourism is a catalyst to overcome poverty and joblessness in their community, saying they can only do much but with the buy-in from local Government, could double the efforts and the spirit of ‘ubuntu’ will be resuscitated.

“Ours is to work with other partners to provide skills training for youth’s as tour guides since they’re from this area. We also have collaboration with schools as first ambassadors, for they have the knowledge and information from their respective schools,” says Moroeng.

But our gripe is extra funding and our pray is for Gvt to guide us, on how to obtain more funds from private sectors, added ntate Sonny Seroto, a tour guide.

The tourism association oversees the Precinct that boast the church, library and the house- to be declared a Heritage Site, all in one street.  

We will engage with the Garankuwa Hotel School to come and provide training and share skills with the association, promises the chief executive at GTA Sthembile Dlamini.

“This will be in the form of training, applying for more funding, training on digital marketing, formalisation of tour-guides and advice on value propositions on those small businesses,” says the CEO.

As the agency they will approach department of sport, arts and culture and establish opportunities that exist within that department to benefit the youth’s in this area, says Dlamini, who also indicated they met with various key stakeholders to discuss the burning issue of Tourism Charter, during the Investment Conference last week in Sandton.

“We can’t let this policy lie low, this is a major concern for everyone involved in the tourism sector and must receive the attention it deserves,” says the CEO.

The last stop for the day was at Tso’s Butchery, a premier township restaurant for visitors looking for a unique township vibe in Kagiso.

The contentious issue of loadshedding was on everyone’s lips, its impact on businesses and households, especially small entrepreneurs.

The MEC did allude they’re in talks with private energy companies to map out the road-plan on how to mitigate this matter, that continues to affect economy badly.

“This is a national matter and we’re hopeful this will be over. Unfortunately, we do not have the time-line but talks are taking shape behind closed doors to remedy the energy shortage in our country,” says Motara, who also added the more loadshedding we’re experiencing, crime exacerbates.

On crafting way forward, the MEC said, guided by the Tourism Recovery Plan and the Growing Gauteng Together vision 2030, we managed to delicately navigate the difficult three years of Covid, no revenue, job losses and test of our human spirit and character.

“Together we dug deep into our inner creative minds, innovated various interventions, and today online meetings, hybrid conferences, online transactions for both industrial, personal and household usage are internalised and entrenched into our daily lives,” she said.

Image supplied (GTA chief executive Sthabile Dlamini, GTA spokesperson Barba Gaoganediwe, MEC Motara engaging with locals at the community library).

“We are now back to full venues and events usage capacity, we have internalised the health and safety protocols and very much sanitised and combat ready for any eventualities. We raise our banners high and send out a sincere message of appreciation and gratitude to all the front line health workers, the law enforcement agencies, front desk tourism and hospitality practitioners and everybody who worked and continue to work behind the scene to ensure sustainability and centrality of tourism in the overall economic recovery project.

Your actions and work once again brings to life the founding principles of the Tourism White Paper of 1996 which advocate that tourism is private sector-driven, government-led, community-based and labour intensive,” says MEC Motara.

According to SA Tourism, the Gauteng City Region accounts for more than 40% of all the international arrivals into SA.

The stats presented by the MEC revealed a massive improvement in Gauteng’s tourism arrivals; most notably, a total of 2.3 million international arrivals, which resulted in revenue of R22.4Billion. In addition, there were 6.5 million domestic visitors into Gauteng, generating revenue of R29.6 billion.

Most international visitors were coming from other countries on the African continent, followed by Europe and the United Kingdom. The increase in domestic visitors was partly due to the hugely successful Shot’Left and outdoor adventures campaigns implemented in 2022, aimed at invigorating the domestic sector in the period immediately post Covid lockdowns.

Performance indicators are as follows:

2.3 million – International Arrivals

1.7 million – arrivals from the Continent 

R 22.4 billion – International Tourism Revenue

6.5 million – Domestic Trips

R29.6 billion – Domestic Tourism Revenue

25.9 million – Bed-nights

GTA will unveil its Winter ena’lanto campaign and focus in the first quarter of 2023.

Meanwhile, the MEC has been taken to court for dissolving two boards, the Gauteng Growth Development Agency and the Gauteng Gambling Board, respectively.

The matter was set for hearing at the Johannesburg High Court on Wednesday 19, and the outcome still pending.

Motara dissolved the GGDA board last month, citing a breakdown of their relationship after a disagreement in the process of appointing a group CEO of the agency.

She told this reporter since the matter is before court, she is entitled to defend herself against this action.

“This is for no nefarious intention as mentioned by board members who took me to court. I have no intention to appoint my own people on those boards, because the law does not allow such, she said.

On calls by opposition parties for Premier Panyaza Lesufi to rein on the matter, she said if only the law allows.

Top image supplied (MEC for Economic Dev, Tourism and Infrastructure in GP Tasneem Motara and other cyclists, hitting the road from Bistro restaurant towards Mansieville- Krugersdorp on Wednesday morning).

Image supplied (Doing her bit. MEC Motara lending a hand by painting one of the oldest church’s in Africa during her visit in Mansieville on Wednesday).

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