What we do
The Nuwejaars Wetland venture employed just short of 300 staff, most inhabitants of the Special
Management Area, during its German-funded climate change project. That made us one of the
region's single largest employers. Including dependents of the employees, the Nuwejaars Wetland
Special Management Area effectively supported five percent of the Cape Agulhas Municipal area.
This allowed us to tackle a top priority, as set out in our Development Framework: to enhance the
wellbeing of all inhabitants of the area. Improving the livelihoods of those dependent on the Special
Management Area is an imperative for sustainable development, and government alone cannot be
responsible for these development programmes.
As such, the goal of the Nuwejaars Wetland team is to achieve a better life for all who live in the
Special Management Area, through aspects like skills development, training, education and poverty
reduction. The German-funded project already kick started this aim. Through the project, local
people, often from vulnerable communities on the Agulhas Plain, learnt skills such as wetland
rehabilitation, fire management and building wildlife infrastructure. Many staff came from the
town of Elim - a previously disadvantaged community full of history and rich culture.
Elim is a member of the Special Management Area.
Now the Nuwejaars Wetland venture aims to further create innovative opportunities to serve our
vision. Within the Special Management Area, natural resources can be accessed and sustainably used
by local communities. Biodiversity products, like sustainably-harvested fynbos bouquets, can be
created from the natural resources. Once sold, communities will benefit - offering a key economic
driver to those who live here.
At the same time, nature-based tourism opportunities are being developed. This will allow for the
training of prospective operators and entrepreneurs. Guides will lead walkers on hiking trails. Others
will offer cultural tours. More staff will be required to market the Nuwejaars Wetland Special
Management Area's tourism activities. And further employees will be needed to monitor compliance
with standards. Together these could offer the Agulhas Plain hundreds of sustainable jobs on the
Special Management Area land.
Employment and "green" jobs
Given the region's high unemployment levels, this may prove vital. The jobless rate stands at 80
percent in certain areas across the Agulhas Plain. The latest Community Survey by Statistics South
Africa found that more than 40 percent of local people are either unemployed, have given up looking
for work, or are economically inactive.
The survey assessed inhabitants of the Overstrand and Cape Agulhas Municipality - both of which fall
in the Agulhas Plain. What's more, the same is applicable for nearly half the women who live here.
Those jobs that are offered here are frequently temporary or seasonal - and therefore not sustainable.
Given that some 74 percent of the Agulhas Plain is still covered by natural vegetation, and much of
this is found in the Special Management Area, opportunities for 'green' jobs abound. The Nuwejaars
Wetland Special Management Area offers just that opportunity.
The Nuwejaars Wetland SMA is rehabilitating its
key areas and cultural features. More
Enhancing the wellbeing of all who live here is an
imperative for the SMA. More
Our tourism venture will include training for
operators and entrepreneurs. More
Production and food security is enhanced through
sustainable use of land. More
Sustainably-utilised products will prove a key
economic driver for communities here. More
By developing the SMA's infrastructure, we can
unlock the area's sustainable capital. More