Refurbished Free State hotel to stimulate job creation

Free State - Environmental and Water Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa, says the newly refurbished Golden Gate Hotel in Qwaqwa will play a role in providing jobs and creating wealth for the area.

Molewa officially launched the new-look hotel on Sunday. The hotel boasts 54 luxury rooms and is part of South African National Parks.

SanParks CEO, Dr David Mabunda, said the hotel was initially built in 1971.

"We felt that there was a need to refurbish the hotel to attract more tourists," he said.

The opening of the hotel coincided with World Environmental Day. Molewa used the opportunity to encourage the public to work hand in hand with government in taking care of the environment.

"We as government know where our people live and we are here to engage with you and share with you some of the areas of our work aimed at building a society that lives in harmony with its environment. We are [happy] with the development of our parks and that will continue.

"We all have a role to play in ensuring we address the challenges posed to us by climate change," said Molewa, pointing out the threat the phenomenon presented to food security and development in the country.

"Climate change is a reality and its impacts are the number one threat to South Africa's long term sustainable development, economic growth and quality of life."

South Africa will be hosting other countries in November and December this year in a bid to address the challenges caused by climate change. More than 100 countries will be represented at the conference.

"We need to ensure that our response to climate change grabs the growth opportunities presented by the global effort to address climate change," said the minister.

The hotel, enveloped by scenic mountains, is situated in the Golden Gate Park, home to 10 antelope species, including the Eland, red hartebeest, black wildebeest, blesbok, springbok, mountain reedbuck, grey rhebuck, grey duiker, stenbok and oribi.

The Golden Gate Park also has more than 50 grass species. Three of the most common ones are Tambookies grass, red grass and thatch grass.

The park derives its name from the sunrays of the setting sun that cast a soft shade on the west facing sandstone cliffs and turns them into a glowing gold colour.