Minister discusses Moz resort evictions

2011-08-16 18:28

Maputo - Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk discussed the eviction of South Africans from a Mozambican resort with his counterpart in that country, an official said on Tuesday.

Van Schalkwyk raised the issue with Mozambican Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana during an official visit on Monday and Tuesday in Maputo, deputy-general Kingsley Makhubela said.

"During our discussions it came up and they gave an explanation," he said.

"When we arrived here our embassy gave us a detailed brief."

Mozambique's special police force evicted inhabitants of the 13 houses in La Perla do Bilene resort in the lakeside town of Bilene in southern Mozambique in July.

The police left furniture on the pavement and changed the locks to the doors, despite a pending Supreme Court judgment on whether the Mozambican government may register the buildings on the resort in the state's name.

The resort borders on properties linked to Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and former president Joaquim Chissano.

"Essentially land cannot be owned in Mozambique," said Makhubela.

"The South African sub-contractor sub-divided the land and sold it off."

The tourism ministry would contact the developer as well, he said.

"It will be useful for us to talk to them after hearing the Mozambican side."

The tourism delegation did not know of a pending court case about the resort, said Makhubela.

Van Schalkwyk’s visit prepared the way for a state visit later this year of President Jacob Zuma to Mozambique.

The tourism ministries discussed standardising the two countries’ grading systems to facilitate travel for international tourists.

Meanwhile, Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali invited South Africans to invest in Mozambique, according to independent newspaper O Pais.

The country has set aside seven areas for tourism development across the country, it quoted the tourism minister as having said.

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