Business backs multi-billion-rand theme park

2008-11-04 00:00

THE KZN Growth Coalition yesterday gave the thumbs-up to a proposed controversial multi-billion rand development in the Macambini area on the north coast.

The green light from the business community came as community opposition to the Amazulu World development by the Dubai-based company, Ruwaad, continued to grow.

Macambini traditional leader Khayelihle Mathaba recently embarrassed the provincial government, which is behind the project, by announcing that another developer is willing to listen to the concerns raised by his community.

The community is upset because it was apparently not consulted about the project. More than 10 000 people will reportedly have to relocate.

During a press briefing in Durban yesterday, captains of KZN’s business community threw their weight behind the project, which is expected to create about 160 000 jobs.

Some of the heavyweights pushing for the development are Premier Sbu Ndebele and King Goodwill Zwelithini, who both have held numerous meetings with Ruwaad bosses in Dubai and in South Africa.

Speaking during the briefing, KZN Growth Coalition member John Barton said the coalition would make sure that Ruwaad does not leave the country, adding that many countries are waiting to grab the opportunity.

“We would like to commend the premier and the king for organising this. This will be 10 times bigger than other cities. We have to support it wholeheartedly … ” he said.

Thabo Mama, a member of King Zwelithini Trust, said the king had been involved in the Macambini development in its embryonic phase in 2004. “The king is very excited about this project because he believes that people should get jobs,” he said.

Project manager Nick Bashkiroff said an environmental impact assessment is expected to start next year after the final signing.

The project incorporates a 22-km coastline and is centred around a R5 billion theme park on the scale of Disney World in Europe and the U.S.

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