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Minister Xasa: Nelson Mandela Centenary launch, Mthata
Minister Xasa: Nelson Mandela Centenary launch, Mthata
Programme Director, Adv Mangcotywa; 
Deputy Ministers;
Mayors and Councillors;
Traditional Leaders present;
Representatives of the Mandela Family;
Representatives of various Political and Civic formations;
Members of the Reception Committee;
CEO of National Heritage Council, Adv Mangcotywa;
CEO of South African Tourism, Sisa Ntshona;
Senior Government Officials; 
Distinguished Guests, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the Media
I am truly honoured and privileged to welcome you to this prestigious event, especially the representatives of the Mandela Family, our political leadership, the national reception committee and traditional leaders present.  This momentous event takes place in the context of the national celebrations of the year 2018 having been declared the year of our late former president Nelson Mandela, as he would have turned a 100 years old this year.  The late Dr Nelson Mandela was a great advocate and supporter of human rights and the general promotion of the values that define all of us as human beings. 
In August 2017, the President had established an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to plan for the celebration of the centenary of the birth of former President Nelson Mandela, in 2018.  The IMC has now announced that it will be working in close collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to ensure that government develops a successful centenary programme.  I must add that the official national Mandela Centenary launch will be announced at the upcoming State of the Nation Address. 
The department of Tourism will partner with all critical stakeholders, including other government departments, media, heritage entities, etc, towards the implementation of the Nelson Mandela Centenary. The Department of Tourism and SAT have specifically identified a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, as well as the Department of Arts and Culture, GCIS, DIRCO, the DTI, BrandSA, ProudlySA to host programmes/events to celebrate Madiba’s birthday.
The Department of Tourism in collaboration with the National Heritage Council (NHC), South African Tourism (SAT), and the Nelson Mandela Museum and the OR Tambo District Municipality, the Mandela Family, Eastern Cape government are hosting us today, to celebrate a number of milestones on the strategic imperatives of tourism.  This year, our efforts are combined with the commemoration and recognition of the ‘Release Mandela Historic Memories’ initiative to Commemorate the 28th anniversary of the release of Former President Nelson Mandela and various political prisoners from custody on the 11th of February 1990;
In line with celebrating 100 years of Mandela, South African Tourism will launch a tourism initiative called “What’s your 100 Madiba experiences?” to promote travel and tourism through Mandela’s legacy. This initiative will promote travel and tourism through Mandela’s Legacy. 100 sites across the country and in all 9 provinces that relate or connect to Nelson Mandela’s legacy will be identified.  These will become “must visit” sites during the course of 2018 both for domestic and international visitors. 
People will be encouraged to Do Tourism by visiting as many of the top 100 places and/or experiences that Mandela touched.  They will be asked to share how, by exploring our incredible country, each place and activity can be showcased in remembrance and celebration of his legacy.  We need to remind South Africans that we have the democratic right to explore our country, its history and its wonders, as experienced by Mandela.  The campaign will support and leverage the already existing campaign created by the Nelson Mandela Foundation #BeTheLegacy.  
All the provincial Tourism Authorities have been requested to submit their Mandela travel places or experiences, building on the 27 sites already shared on the South African Tourism Mandela App. These will range from the well-known   -  the Capture Site, to the unknown - perhaps Mandela's favourite restaurant and coffee shop, but all will encourage travel and build towards the 5-in 5 Strategy.This will encourage some healthy competition between the provinces, not only for the range of offerings, but for the response from both international and local visitors. 
The Department of Tourism has linked some of the planned activities and projects to the Department’s nodal approach.  This approach targets strategically identified geographic areas or nodes with a concentration of clearly defined tourism potential or attractiveness for tourism growth and development.  The planned activities in the nodes will support the Department’s strategic objectives to promote inclusive tourism growth and development by demonstrating a bias towards benefiting unemployed youth, women, people with disabilities, SMMEs and cooperatives located in townships and rural areas.
The choice of the 100 will be made by a collaborative team from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, South African Tourism and National Department of Tourism.  The Department of Tourism is currently identifying key sites for infrastructure enhancement from the “What’s your 100” list of experiences.  The planned projects, outlined below are aligned with the Department’s nodal approach and strategic priority of enhancing the visitor experience at the following World Heritage and National Heritage Sites:
1. Nelson Mandela Capture Site in Howick

A partnership with the KwaZulu Natal Province will focus on enhancing the tourism offering at the Nelson Mandela Capture site in Howick.  The Province is presently working with COGTA and Umgeni Local Municipality to invest R57million in an Interpretation and Multipurpose Centre at the site.  The Department will in turn, partner with the institutions and contribute R12million to complete the Centre.

2. Partnership with Robben Island

The Department is currently working with Robben Island and has committed R10million towards destination enhancement.  The project involves digitization of heritage archive of Robben Island, links to the creative industry through partnership with local artists and crafters and conversion of buildings for alternative usage.

3. The Peoples Park Project at Constitution Hill

In honour of the South African Constitution turning 21 this year, the Department will create “the People’s Park” at Constitution Hill Precinct which will include the construction of an open park space, children’s playground, high street retail amenities, construction of pedestrian routes, public open spaces connecting the surrounding community to the constitutional court, as well as the creation of wheelchair friendly bridges and pathways, sensory paths for blind visitors and upgrades to the lifts which provide universal access.  The department will contribute R14million towards this project.

4. The Living the Legacy Exhibition

The living the legacy exhibition was originally developed by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and has been donated to Maropeng in the Cradle of Humankind.  This is a new project added for consideration by the Department among the list of planned Mandela Centenary projects.

The project involves an interactive, experiential exhibition which will allow all visitors to access the political history and heritage of the liberation struggle that led to the ultimate end of Apartheid.  This exhibition raises awareness of human rights, access for all and transformation.  As a living heritage exhibition, it allows all visitors to contemplate the legacy of Madiba and ordinary South Africans who opposed the injustices of the past. The proposed exhibition will be launched in 2018 and will run for two years at Moropeng in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.  The Department of Tourism has been requested to partner with Maropeng on this project with a contribution of R15million.

The Cradock 4 Garden of Remembrance (Phase 2) is a R28million EPWP construction project implemented in memory of the Cradock 4 anti-apartheid activists.  The Department has completed this project and will hand it over to the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality that will manage and run the facility until a suitable operator is identified to manage it and put in place a management regime/structure to address sustainability and success of the project going forward.  The Department will also provide further training in service excellence, tourist guide training, marketing (Indaba) of the facility and other interventions as identified by the stakeholders.
The Department’s Coastal and Marine Tourism (CTM) Implementation Plan approved by Cabinet in 2017 seeks to grow a world class sustainable coastal and marine tourism destination that leverages South Africa’s competitive advantage in nature, culture and heritage.  To this end, three initiatives have been identified, namely:
1. The Blue Flag Beaches Programme;
2. Boat Based Whale Watching and Shark Cage Diving;
3. Off Road Vehicle 4x4 Beach Driving
These projects will be taken forward in the first phase implementation plan.  Six nodes have been identified for the first phase (0-5 years), with 2 of these located in the Eastern Cape, as follows:
1. Node 3 : Port St Johns to Coffee Bay

2. Nodes 4 : East London, Port Elizabeth and surrounds
The launch of the Eastern Cape 6-day Hiking Trail in 2018 is also proposed as a Mandela Centenary Project.  The R9million nodal project is located in the Port St John Local Municipality.  The project will establish a six-day hiking trail from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay that will additionally provide, among others, ablution facilities and huts for overnight accommodation.
The partnership with CATHSSETA towards the Eastern Cape Development Projects, at the King Sabata Dalindyebo is a project in support of government’s initiative to revitalize Coffee Bay into a fully-fledged economic hub utilizing tourism as a catalyst for economic development, aimed at revamping the Coffee Bay hotel.  The aim is to bring state-of-the-art infrastructure which involves renovating the industrial kitchen to meeting world-class standards.  CATHSSETA has earmarked R10million towards this project.
The industrial kitchen will be used to train the chefs and to implement other hospitality related programmes with the objective of returning the hotel to a working facility.  It will also be used by college students for their workplace experience.  Learners will gain first-hand experience of how industrial kitchens operates in the preparation of future employment.  The project also seeks to create a sense of pride and patriotism for local students so that they see themselves contributing towards the economic development of their region.
As a strategic partner COGTA has also shown interest in partnering with the Department to utilize current training initiatives funded through EPWP to further train community members around Coffee Bay that are currently in the community work programme.
We therefore share with you our excitement about the 2018 programme and we are confident that this programme will plug into the bigger programme of the implementation of the development agenda of our government.
In conclusion, I wish to stress that for the Department of Tourism, strong and effective partnerships towards cultural, heritage and legacy tourism remains central to our vision of growing tourism as a critical deliverable towards economic advancement, for a better quality of life for all.  

I thank you.