Where did the millions, and hope, go?

2017-05-03 06:02
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EIGHT million rand later - and what has happened not only to the buildings, but to the dreams and hopes of the community?

In January 2006 the following report was published on the front page of the Greytown Gazette: “Ngome community took the first big steps towards the establishment of a 4 300 ha community conservation area” with a game lodge,cultural centre and hotel. The project was a public-private partnership between the Ngome community, the Elan Group,Tourism KZN, Wildlife KZN and the Department of Arts and Culture, and others. A grant of R7.6 million was given for the project.
The report went on that this was the culmination of two land claims by the Ngome community “who are excited about the potential of the community game reserve”.
The community Trust which had dealt with the land claims was now focussing on the sustainable development of the area.

Move forward to 2009 when in June the KZN MEC for Economic Development and other top officials launched the state-of-the-art lodge of 11 chalets and a 50-seater conference hall.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife was to run the lodge and game reserve while mentoring the community to take it all over within five years.
It was announced that as negotiations were still continuing with possible funders for furniture and equipment the lodge was not yet operational.

Another two years and the Greytown Gazette in 2011 reported that reality was in stark contrast to the dream.
The buildings had been seriously vandalised - little or no game could be seen and the infrastructure had collapsed.
An interim Trust committee was set up by a section of the community to take positive action as they believed the Trust had allowed this to happen.

However, in a statement to the Greytown Gazette, Ngome Trust chairman, Michael Lathe said there had been some delays to the agreement but R2 million had been transferred to Ezemvelo after a meeting with the interim committee and the Trust, convened by the police, and it was agreed that the project continue without hindrance for the benefit of the community.

The Greytown Gazette sent this report to a representative of the Trust requesting comment - to date no response has been received.

However, the above photographs, taken two weeks ago, show otherwise.

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