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Limpopo National Park

19 May 2004

Progress Report : January - March 2004

1.INTRODUCTION

This report covers the activities of the PIU during the first quarter of the year from January to March 2004.

2. ADMINISTRATION PROGRAMME

2.1 Human Resources

The staff complement is as follows:

Permanent/Contract Workers
  • Project Manager
  • Park Director
  • Financial Manager
  • Support Zone Coordinator
  • Community Liaison Officer
  • Admin Clerk
  • Anti-poaching Coordinator
  • Field rangers x 73
Seconded Staff
  • Nature Conservator (sanctuary/wildlife relocation)
  • Support Zone Advisor
Appointment of key staff members

A Human Resource Manager and Public Relations Officer were recently appointed. No suitable person has been found to fill the position of Protection Coordinator and the status quo of a person acting in the position has been maintained.

2.2 Finances

The budget for 2004 has been approved and has been circulated to the PIU and the Coordinators of the respective programmes.

2.3 Communications Network

2.3.1 VHF Radio

Spectrum has commenced with the production of the repeater equipment. The initial RF equipment is complete and has been assembled into their relevant enclosures. The installation of the equipment on site has, however not commenced as yet as the park has received a lot of rain since early March and the Shingwedzi river is still flooding. The rain made access by road to the different repeater sites impossible, which delayed the de-mining of the sites and therefore also the installation of the repeaters.

2.3.2 Telephone

The PIU is happy to report that the V-Sat system which was installed at Massingir is operational and that the Limpopo National Park now has a dedicated landline. The Mozambican cell phone service provider, M-cell, has also become involved and has linked a cell phone tower to the V-Sat system. Cell phone coverage is therefore now also available within the immediate vicinity of Massingir.

3. PROTECTION PROGRAMME

3.1 De-mining

The de-mining on the initial scope of work has been completed. The order was changed to include a technical survey on an additional 12 suspected mined areas (SMA's) as well as a technical survey (25% coverage) of the management infrastructure sites (HQ, repeater sites for VHF radios and Massingir Safari Camp). The heavy rains received during this quarter have hampered progress on the SMA's and the repeater station sites. The technical survey of the HQ site is however, nearly complete.

4. COMMUNITY PROGRAMME

4.1 Re-alignment of Support Zone

The resource mapping exercise of the Support Zone has been completed and a report drafted by the team leader. The data collected was transferred to a GIS system and PPF's GIS Manager assisted with the drafting of the potential re-alignment based on the data provided. A proposal regarding the proposed re-alignment will be made to the Steering Committee in order to obtain a mandate from Government and the donor. A workshop will then be held with the communities to give them feedback on the work already done and to obtain their endorsement. Once there is common vision on the broader process, meetings will be held with each group of villages which comprise a Posto Administrativo to negotiate the boundary in detail.

4.2 Voluntary Resettlement

The PIU and the Support Zone Coordinator have met with the Governor of Gaza Province, who has agreed with the creation and composition of the Resettlement Working Group (RWG). He has also appointed the Provincial Director for Tourism as the chairperson for the RWG. The RWG will steer the resettlement process and the PIU is planning to convene the first meeting during the last week in May. The PIU has further obtained quotes from various specialists to act as advisor to the RWG and are in the process of selecting a suitable candidate. A shortlist has been compiled and interviews will be held shortly.

4.3 Project Liaison Board

The Governor of Gaza has also approved the establishment of a Project Liaison Board (PLB) and has appointed the District Administrator of Massingir as the Chairperson of the PLB. The main objective of the PLB is to liaise, coordinate and give feedback to the various stakeholders directly or indirectly involved with the project. The PIU plans to arrange the first meeting of the PLB for the first week in June.

5. INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

It was agreed by all stakeholders that the management infrastructure will be grouped together in the area on the western side of the dam wall. Care will be taken not to construct any buildings or infrastructure that could impact on the tourism potential of the two adjacent valleys. The design for the senior staff houses has been completed and the tender for the construction thereof will be advertised towards the end of May, 2004. The other buildings (HQ, workshop, arrival centre and entrance gate) are in various stages of design and will only be put to tender in June/July.

6. TOURISM PROGRAMME

The tourism development plan as well as the development of Park Authority Developments (PAD's) as an interim arrangement were approved at the previous Steering Committee meeting. The PAD opportunities, a wilderness hiking camp and two 4x4 routes, were advertised in Mozambique and South Africa to call for an expression of interest. One bidder qualified according to the criteria set. The compilation of the tender documents is being finalised and will be forwarded to the successful candidate for submission of a tender by the end of May.

7. GENERAL

The first half of the summer season (November to January) was very dry while, in contrast, the latter part of the season (February to March) has received a lot of rain. The Massingir dam was 17% full in mid-February and 100% before the end of March. The roads in the park became so drenched that the park was inaccessible to normal traffic for most of March.

Ara-sul has started with the rehabilitation of the dam wall and Massingir is thus a hive of activity. The dam wall will be closed shortly and all traffic will be diverted to a road below the dam wall.

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