Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park; World Heritage Convention Bill: discussion


15 September 1999
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

15 September 1999


Documents handed out:
Presentation on Transfronteir Park
Bilateral Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and The Government of the Republic of South Africa on the recognition of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.


The Portfolio Committee agreed to a motion ratifying the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Agreement establishing the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, after hearing a briefing by the South Africa National Parks. The agreement, between South Africa and Botswana, has been signed by the Presidents of both countries. Both houses of Parliament need to ratify the agreement for it to be legally binding.

The Portfolio Committee heard a briefing by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism on amendments the Department would be proposing with regard to the World Heritage Convention Bill. The Portfolio Committee adopted a motion of desirability, and formal deliberations on the Bill would start on Friday the 17 October.


Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Mr Paris, from the South Africa National Parks (SANPARKS) started the meeting with a briefing on the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The Park was a joint operation between South Africa and Botswana. The total declared area of the Park would amount to twice that of the Kruger National Park. The North and Eastern boundaries of the park were unfenced, and opened up into the extensive Kgalagadi desert area, making the area for game and ecological interaction far larger.

Mr Paris noted that the Park had been operating in an informal manner as a transfrontier Park since the 1930's. Active co-operation between the two countries started as early as 1967, and in 1992 a Transfrontier Management Committee was set up. As a result, both presidents signed a Bilateral Agreement on the 7 April 1999. For the agreement to be binding on South Africa, both houses of Parliament need to ratify the agreement. Mr Paris presented the key principles of the Park.

Mr September (African National Congress) noted that the boundary with Namibia on the map displaying the Park was sharp and unnatural, and asked whether Namibia would join the Park at any stage.

Mr Paris replied that the boundary with Namibia was already fenced. As South Africa and Botswana had been co-operating historically in the area, the Park was first formalised with Botswana. Once the benefits of the Park had been noted, it was hoped that Namibia would join.

Mr Moorcroft (Democratic Party) noted that as the President had already signed the agreement, was it coming to Parliament not merely a rubber stamping exercise. He asked the reason for it going to the President first, and whether there was some precedent that created the process. Mr Paris replied that the agreement would not be binding until both houses ratified it. A Member of Parliament referred to section 231 of the constitution, which stated that the executive was responsible for negotiating and singing international agreements, but the agreements would only be binding once ratified by Parliament.

Ms Van der Merwe asked whether there were any communities living in the Parks, or whether there were any land claims for any of the land. Mr Paris replied that there were no communities currently living in the area. A land claim had previously been lodged by the San community. An agreement between the San, the Department of Land Affairs and the SANPARKS had been reached whereby a section of the Park would be deproclaimed from a schedule 1 conserved area. Ownership had been transferred to the community, who leased the land to SANPARKS to continue using for conservation. The community would further look at eco-tourism options within the area. The were no communities in the Botswana area.

Ms Ramotsamai (African National Congress) asked why the name "Kalahari" still applied to the South African side of the Park, as this was an English interpretation of the correct name. Secondly, she requested information on the agreements made in terms of anti-poaching control. Mr Paris noted the correct name of the area applied to the new Park, and he would look into changing the name of the South Africa section. In relation to anti-poaching agreements, a fundamental principle in the Park was that each country would have sovereignty for their area, with their being a co-operative strategy adopted. For example, when on anti-poaching patrols, if a patrol unit came across a poacher, the game ranger from the country the poacher was in would take the matter further. An attempt was being made to align the regulations in both countries.

Ms Van der Merwe (African National Congress) asked how many gates there were into the park, and how the immigration issues were being handled. Mr Paris stated that there were 2 gates, with a third in the pipeline. The Immigration issues would be handled at the gates, in order to make it easier to tour the park.

Ms Olckers (New National Party) asked whether this would be the first Transfrontier park in the world. Mr Paris noted that a park had been declared between Canada and the USA to commemorate 100 years of peace between the two countries. This park was new in that the joint formulation was new, and signalled a commitment to manage the park jointly in time to come. Other cross boundary parks do exist in Africa.

Mr Moorcroft (Democratic Party) asked on the progress of the other potential Transfrontier Parks in South Africa. Mr Paris replied that work was being done with Namibia in the Richtersveld and Augrabies areas, and with Zimbabwe in the Limpopo area, and with Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the Kruger National Park area. Mr Moorcroft noted that many of these projects had been going on for years, and asked whether any progress was being made. Mr Paris responded by noting that each area and Park had a unique history and had to create its own unique path to joint co-operation. Many of the countries were not eager to co-operate with South Africa prior to 1994.

Ms Chalmers (African National Congress) noted that in some areas of the Eastern Cape game farming was springing up, and often non-indigenous animals were introduced which could damage surrounding vegetation. She asked whether there were similar farms and problems in the area around the new Park. Mr Paris replied that there were not. He would ask the provincial authorities to look into the matter.

Ms Semple (New National Party) asked how accessible the park was, and specifically in terms of economic development. Mr Paris replied that there was a spatial development plan for the region, which targeted tourism. Those in charge of the plan had agreed to look into the development possibilities in terms of communities living around the park, in particular using the conservation areas to generate a living. A combination of cultural, game drive and wilderness experiences would be offered.

The Chair asked the Portfolio Committee for guidance in terms of moving ahead with the process. The Portfolio Committee agreed to send a report to the National Assembly stating they had considered the issue, and supported the Park. The motion was proposed formally by Mr Moorcroft, and seconded by Ms Olckers and Ms Chalmers. The minister would make a speech on the day of the motion in the house, and the Portfolio Committee members requested that the parties be given an opportunity to speak considering the historic nature of the event. The Chair agreed.


World Heritage Convention Bill
The Portfolio Committee returned to the World Heritage Convention Bill (WHCB). The Chair noted that in the previous meetings the Department had reported they were involved in meeting with various organisations with respect to concerns that had been raised. She requested the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism to report back on the progress that had been made.

Ms Ingrid Coetzee noted that meetings or discussions had been held with the Deeds registrar, the Robben Island representatives, the Department of Finance, and the State Law advisors. Amendments resulting from these meetings would be tabled the following day.

Mr Terreblanch, on behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, took the committee through the key concepts behind the expected amendments. On the amendments from the Deeds registrar, he noted that the previous section 30 had been scrapped. The section had tried to jointly deal with situations in which land was owned by the state, and situations where a site included land owned by both the state and private individuals. The Deeds registrar had suggested a practical solution of using a "notarial deed" to manage situations of joint ownership. Under such a deed, the underlying land ownership would not be altered. However, the deed would state that the granting of servitude's or access rights, etc., would need to be agreed to by all the joint owners.

On the issues raised by Robben Island, , Mr Terreblanch reported that amendments would be forthcoming dealing with the authorities ability to secure procurements. The previous wording of "licensing or concesioning" had been inaccurate and confusing, and "procurements" would be used instead. Further, in its activities the authorities needed to be transparent, and regulations would be published to ensure transparency. With respect to ensuring the security of the sites as universally important, an amendment would be proposed requiring that Cabinet be required to deproclaim a site or authority.

Comments from the State Law Advisor had resulted in further amendments with the disestablishment of authorities. Authorities should be given access to due process, and should therefore be given a chance to come to Parliament to present their case.

Mr Terreblanch added that on the financial sections, the concurrence of the Minister of Finance would be added. There were further amendments that would be tabled that were from the Department, and work aimed at cleaning up the Bill in terms of its general drafting.

Mr Holomisa (United Democratic Movement) noted that a late submission had been received from the Habitat Council. He asked the chair how the submission would be dealt with.

The chair noted that all South Africans had been given an opportunity to comment, and the deadline had expired. To allow those who had daily access to Parliament, because they live in Cape Town, to make late submissions, would not be fair. The Habitat Council was welcome to talk to individual members on the issue, and the Members could raise the issue at the Portfolio Committee meetings if they chose.

The Chair noted that in a meeting with the Minister the previous night, the Minister had indicated that the Gauteng Legislature would like to make a presentation to the Portfolio Committee. The Chair had indicated that if the concerns of the legislature, as expressed in their written submissions, had been noted. If they still had concerns, they were invited to write to the Portfolio Committee.

Mr Moorcroft (Democratic Party) stated that his party was more comfortable with the Bill given the departments comments. They would be even more comfortable if the amendments were faxed to those who had expressed the major concerns.

Dr Benjamin (African National Congress) noted that the Gauteng Legislature would raise there concerns in the National Council of Provinces if they did not have them resolved in the Portfolio Committee. The Portfolio Committee would then have to deal with them when the amendments from the National Council of Provinces came back to the Portfolio Committee.

The chair noted that there were no more comments, and therefore asked whether the Portfolio Committee was happy to proceed. The Portfolio Committee agreed.

A motion of desirability was read by the Chair, and agreed to by the Portfolio Committee. The Committee would begin deliberating formally on the Bill on Friday, 17 September.

Appendix 1:

Presentation on Transfronteir Park





AREA (37,990km²)

  • Kalahari Gemsbok National Park 9,590km²
  • Gemsbok National Park 28,400km²



  • 1931; Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
  • 1938; Botswana Game Reserve
  • 1967; Formal Co-operation between agencies
  • 1971; Gemsbok National Park
  • 1992; Transfrontier Management Committee
  • 3 March 1999; Approval by Presidents of Botswana and South Africa
  • 7 April 1999; Bilateral Agreement formally signed





  • Maintain long-term integrity of the entire southern Kalahari ecosystem
  • Pooling of expertise and experience
  • Increased international awareness of the area
  • Joint promotional campaigns increase tourism
  • Increased economic potential of region



  • Preserve indigenous southern Kalahari organisms
  • Maintain ecological processes specific to the Kalahari
  • Provide research facilities and opportunities
  • Provide educational opportunities
  • Optimize economic returns for the region




  • Section 21 Company not for gain under the South African Companies Act of 1973.


  • Founding member - four from both Botswana and South Africa.


  • SANP to provide secretarial services.


  • Objectives are:


  • Monitor implementation of the management plan.


  • Render advice arising from the Bilateral Agreement.


  • Receive donations and equally distribute them between the two countries.


  • Chairperson to rotate between the two countries


  • Decision to be taken by consensus


  • Audited financial statements to be submitted yearly





  • Each country retains its sovereignty
  • Joint management of natural ecosystem
  • Joint zonation of tourism areas but separate management
  • Bilateral co-ordination through the KTP Foundation



No related


No related documents


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: