Locals say ‘no’ to park plan

2008-11-05 00:00

The planned multi-billion-rand development in the Macambini area on the north coast by Dubai’s Ruwaad corporation, which is backed by Premier Sbu Ndebele, has hit a snag.

The Macambini community yesterday rejected the development, upset that more than 8 000 people will reportedly be forced to relocate to make way when the tourism development occupies about 16 500 hectares of what they call their land.

The decision was taken yesterday during a community meeting that was also attended by Ingonyama Trust, established in 1994 to manage tribal land in the province.

Members of the Macambini community support Sports Cities International, another Dubai-based developer, to take over, saying their preferred developer is willing to listen to their concerns.

Sports Cities International has promised to deliver a similar development at a cost of about R23 billion on about 1 000 hectares of unoccupied land — without moving anyone.

According to the law governing the Ingonyama Trust board, it is the community that takes a decision about any development that takes place on its land.

During the meeting, community members raised concerns that the proposed development by Ruwaad would cause more harm than good, saying that more than 8 500 people would have to relocate without compensation.

The decision to reject Ruwaad came barely a day after the KZN Growth Coalition gave the thumbs-up to Ruwaad.

Community members also raised concerns that King Goodwill Zwelithini supported Ruwaad in the face of their opposition to the development.

Ingonyama Trust Board chairman Judge Justice Ngwenya said no development would take place if the community were opposed to it.

“Neither the king, the government nor our board has power to impose such decisions on the community. We only take a decision to allow companies to develop after we have been given permission by the tribal authority of the area where development will take place,” he said.

Ngwenya said the board is concerned that Ruwaad has not furnished it with all the details of the project.

“Ruwaad keeps on changing the size of what they want to do. When they first approached us in August 2006, they told us that they were going to spend R20 billion on the project, but we now read in the media that it has gone up to R55 billion,” said Ngwenya.

Macambini traditional leader inkosi Khayelihle Mathaba said Ruwaad has undermined the community by not consulting with them.

He added that he signed a memorandum of understanding with Sports Cities International because it is willing to listen to what the people of Macambini want.

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