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MEC Maruping Lekwene
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Kimberley 06/06/2019 In an all-out effort-effort of ensuring tourists to the Northern Cape are safe, the Northern Cape’s Economic Development and Tourism MEC Maruping Lekwene unveiled the province’s leg of the National Tourism Monitors Programme.

Following a vigorous selection process and an intensive three week programme, 51 unemployed young people drawn from all over the province are to be placed at tourist hot spots across the five districts.

“Their primary responsibility is to ensure that tourists are safe. They will be working closely with the police. What is important for them is to understand the industry.  We are looking to expand (beyond mining and agriculture) into renewable energy and tourism whilst focusing on transforming the wildlife industry. This is a good start.

“These young people are the future. If we invest in them and skill them we will be able to transform the tourism sector. Also, we will be able to enhance it, hence we putting our money where our mouths are,” said MEC Lekwene with no hints of having been in office for a mere week.

With tourism having been identified to assist in the reduction of poverty and unemployment, MEC Maruping emphasised the focus on youth.

“What is key is for the province and for me as MEC is the upskilling and reskilling of young people. When you listen to various economists and scholars they tell you that our challenge in South Africa is the youth bulb. Meaning that at a particular point if it can explode it will create challenges. We must prevent that,” he warned.

As will be the case with the 50 other beneficiaries of the programme, Bontleeng Choche from Kuruman will from coming Monday be placed at one of the 15 tourist attraction sites.

“I am happy about this opportunity. I have learned a lot and I always wanted to be part of the tourism industry. I am also glad that the MEC has given us hope about opening up other avenues in tourism which will bring about more opportunities,” beamed Choche.

Lesheshe Masenya from Machabelele Associates which is the project service provider, gave insights into the programme. “30 percent of the programme is theoretical and 70 percent is practical. They were given an opportunity to come to class where they dealt with customer service training which is sitting at NQF Level 4 which is a SETA accredited training and they will also have a volunteer safety monitor certificate. The learners will be given a stipend for the next 12 months and ours is to make sure we monitor them to ensure they are working closely with SAPS.”

Another partner to the programme is the department’s entity, the Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA). The entity’s Chief Executive Officer Sharron Lewis also graced the occasion. The programme is also linked with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

By Thabo Mothibi

MEC Maruping Lekwene


MEC Maruping Lekwene with a new breed of recruits for an enhanced and safe tourism environment.


Tourism Safety Monitors: Recruits listening attentively to MEC Maruping Lekwene.
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Thabo Mothibi is a former broadcast journalist (TV and Radio) – with specialist reporting experience; SABC Political/Parliamentary and TRC Teams over a period of five years (1995 to 2000).

One key foreign assignment - is the 11-nation African Connection Rally – overland journey from Africa’s northern-most pole in the coastal Tunisian city of Bizerte to the southern-most pole in South Africa’s Cape Agulhas. From the journalistic years, Thabo then delved into Government media liaison and serving two former Ministers and three MECs. He became the Northern Cape Provincial Government’s first department based Communications Director at Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development - 2008-2010 – where he also served as Head of Ministry from 2003 – 2008.

As a former anti-apartheid activist, his political background and professional training aided him in spearheading the Northern Cape ANC’s 2004 National Elections media and publicity campaign and that of the 2006 Local Government Elections.

Whilst based in Waterkloof in Pretoria -2010 to end 2011, he consulted for Manstrat Agricultural Intelligence, then returned to the Northern Cape in 2012 to date, to consult independently and pursue other entrepreneurial interests in media and communications through KwaVuko Communications and Marketing.

Thabo Mothibi obtained his NQF7 through Wits University’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management (P&DM) in Johannesburg, a Unilever Mandela Rhodes Academy for Marketing and Communications Academy (UMRA). The goal of the NQF7 programme was to educate and train public and private sector professional communicators and marketers in government communications..