Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
30 Oct 2014
6:00 pm

Toyota drives giant flag project in the Karoo

Citizen Reporter

In three years, the Camdeboo region of the Karoo will be the sight of a world first – a giant South African flag that will be visible from space.

Slide showing the relative size of the flag. Picture: supplied

As official vehicle partner, Toyota SA will be instrumental in the creation of the giant flag through the donation of various vehicles required for the build-up and sustainability of the project.

“Toyota is proud to be a sponsor of this project – the start of which coincides with our Hilux Legend 45 launch in the year we celebrate 20 years of democracy in South Africa,” said Dr Johan van Zyl, president and CEO of Toyota SA.

“We are a proudly South African company and this project was a natural fit for us. One of our values is to protect the environment and, as a company, to ensure our impact on the environment is as low as possible. However, our involvement is not only to encourage an environmental culture but also to support the local development that this project will provide,” he said.

The giant flag will be a 66 hectare South African flag, made up of 2.5 million coloured succulents, with a 4MW solar field incorporated into the flag. But the environmental impact of this project is not the only thing that makes it impressive – the benefits to the local community and economy are paramount.

These include creating more than 700 jobs for the construction and planting of the flag, of which up to 60% will be women; upskilling and training of local residents which, of course, will have a direct impact on the community; and local tourism will benefit from the addition of a tourism attraction.

SA flag schematic with plants and solar panels. Picture: supplied

SA flag schematic with plants and solar panels. Picture: supplied

More permanent benefits will also result from this project, such as giving employment to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), all involved in making the big flag dream a reality.

These include the development of a conference facility and an SME precinct within the flag, under the apex of the black triangle (the solar field). This will include green buildings and a large-scale water-harvesting design within the rows of solar banks and various tourism activities, including hot-air ballooning and microlight sky tours.

The giant flag’s main income will come from selling “pixels” that will create a virtual/digital footprint for the project. Each pixel costs $10 (R109) and will be available to the general public to purchase. Buyers will be able to view the growth of their pixel using Google maps.

“The important aspect of this project is its longevity and far-reaching benefits to the local community. Toyota has an opportunity to use its products and assets to assist in making this project a success. We would like to involve as many areas of our business as possible to ensure success,” added Dr van Zyl.