R4bn project to go ahead after Mabuza offers support

2013-10-02 12:55

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A R4 billion project will finally go ahead after Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza offered his long-sought support.

The Nkosi City project – to be built in Pienaar outside Nelspruit – was stalled for about two years because Mabuza had not signed documents that would release about R1.8 billion in infrastructure funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Mabuza has met with members of the Community Property Association (CPA) following a protest march last week about his reluctance to support the project.

Mabuza’s spokesperson, Zibonele Mncwango, said the processes that needed to be followed were explained to the association and denied that the premier was not supporting development.

“This is a huge investment and there’s no way the premier can’t support it. We had to explain to the CPA that this project needed to be in the Integrated Development Plan of Mbombela municipality first,” said Mncwango.

Resident Mandla Msibi said the project was put in the Mbombela integrated development programme (IDP) three years ago.

Msibi is also a councillor in Mbombela municipality.

“There’s another march scheduled for October 18 with which we want to emphasise our seriousness. At the same time, we’ll continue with the private sector component of the project like building a garage and a shopping mall while we’re waiting for the premier to give his approval,” Msibi said.

Last March, Mabuza denied knowledge of the Nkosi City project during a live interview on SABC’s Ligwagwala FM even though the CPA had requested a meeting with him twice before the interview.

Thereafter, Sonnyboy Maphanga – a deputy director in the Mpumalanga agriculture, rural development and land administration department – confirmed to City Press that he was acting on Mabuza’s mandate to start a similar project in Carolina.

Maphanga is also Mabuza’s business partner as they are registered as co-directors of a company called Nelesco 85, according to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.

He was working in Mbombela municipality and sat in meetings when the Mpakeni Tribal Authority mooted the project, which was approved and is part of the council’s IDP.

Mncwango said he did not know about the Carolina project.

The city will be situated on 1 000 hectares of land on the periphery of Pienaar, west of the Kruger National Park.

This land is owned by the Mpakeni Tribal Authority.

The city aims to be a self-sustaining settlement with 2 237 RDP houses, 1 158 affordable bonded houses, 1 000 apartments, schools, a college, an industrial area and a lodge.

A whole range of business ventures – including the growing of Moringa trees for biofuel production, citrus and cash crops and opening a new gate to the KNP – will be undertaken to create jobs and residents will form cooperatives.

A further R2.2 billion will be sourced from commercial banks to establish the city’s private businesses.

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