By Alan Fuchs MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Mogale City:
The unprecedented discovery of fossils at Maropeng in the Cradle of Human Kind in Mogale City is not only exciting from a scientific point of view, but if managed correctly, could make a huge contribution towards uplifting the economy and the quality of life for people of the West Rand.
The discovery, which was made in 2013 and embargoed until today, contributes towards our understanding of the origins of humankind.
According to Prof Lee Berger, the leader of the expedition that discovered the fossils, the scientific impact of this discovery makes a huge contribution to our understanding of human ancestry and is a once-in-a-lifetime find.
It has drawn palaeontologists and other scientists from across the world to Maropeng for the lifting of the embargo and the first public announcement of the impact of the discovery.
Visitors to many countries in the world often feel duty bound to visit famous tourist attractions before heading home.
On the basis of this discovery, Maropeng could become one such tourist attraction, and viewed in the same light as the Giza pyramids in Egypt, Alcatraz prison in San Fransisco or the Taj Mahal in India.
However, this depends entirely on the management of this famous site in Mogale and how it is packaged for the tourist market.
This is an opportunity that is not likely to come along any time soon, and we dare not mismanage it.
The future of the West Rand’s economy may depend on it.