On the 11 th of July 2018, Gert Sibande District Municipality led by Executive Mayor Muzi Chirwa
welcomed and hosted a delegation from Zimbabwe who were on a benchmarking exercise to South
Africa which was focused on tourism trade promotion. On a request by the South African Department of
Tourism, Gert Sibande District was to host and share best practices with the visitors from Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe was on a quest to study and learn from South Africa the practices of tourism development.
Zimbabwe believes that South Africa is doing well in tourism development. Whereas this forms part of
the implementation plans for the agreements South Africa has with Zimbabwe on issues of tourism, such
an exercise contributes to the strengthening of regional integration with the South African Development
Community (SADC) region.
The first interaction with the visitors was held at Manzana famously known as Badplaas which was a
specific request by the visitors. Both the District Executive Mayor Muzi Chirwa and Executive Mayor of
Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality Cllr Dan Nkosi shared with the visitors why Gert Sibande District and the
entire Mpumalanga Province is the best place to be. The leaders shared briefly the history of Gert
Sibande and Chief Albert Luthuli including the fact that both institutions are named after the struggle
heroes Richard Gert Sibande and Chief Albert Luthuli. They also shared about the tourism attraction
areas and routes including the nearby Barberton Makhonjwa Mountain which was recently inscribed as
the first World Heritage Site in the Mpumalanga and the 10 th SA World Heritage Site.
“Mpumalanga province is a tourism destination. We must promote tourism as a sustainable business.
We must continue to promote, support and champion the issue of economic empowerment through
tourism using available resources” said Executive Mayor Chirwa. “Gert Sibande as a district has been
visited by other countries such as Russia with a similar objective on issues of tourism. We are very
excited to have hosted you today” said Chirwa.
Dr Enivah Mutsau of the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry in Zimbabwe indicated that they
were in South Africa on recommendation by parliament that they study and learn how South Africa has
been able to excel in its tourism sector. “We believe South Africa is doing very well in this particular area
and we believe that the knowledge received will go a long way to the establishment of universal
accessible tourism facilities in Zimbabwe. Mr Shavhani Mukwevho of the South African Department of
Tourism expressed his gratitude to Gert Sibande for opening its arms to the guests.
The following day was dedicated to a number of information sharing, presentations and activities
prepared by Gert Sibande and the National Tourism Department focussed on universal accessibility,
safety and awareness strategy, and sustainable tourism in line with the request by the visitors from
The District Whip of Council mesmerised the guests with his thanking remarks featuring a few words in
Shona which is a language used in Zimbabwe. The gathering was attended by many other stakeholders
locally and beyond.