Drakensberg cable car debate is back

2013-08-04 20:48

Johannesburg - Lightning strikes the Drakensberg about 100 times a year and the wind is so fierce that Lesotho is reportedly considering building wind farms.

But after a positive feasibility study released this week, government may have ­finally given the controversial Drakensberg cable car project the nod, City Press reports.

An ambitious blueprint for the cable car was unveiled by KwaZulu-Natal’s Economic Development MEC, Mike Mabuyakhulu.

The cable car was first mooted in 1994, but the massive cost of the project and its potential ecological impact meant that it never saw the light of day.

Mabuyakhulu said that government would develop a business plan and hold “rigorous and open” consultations with communities where the cable car is likely to be developed over the next four months.

The new study (conducted by Graham Muller Associates) follows two earlier, less positive studies.

City Press reports that the first, conducted by the Federation of Drakensberg ­User Groups, found it ­extremely unlikely that any ­cable car project could be sustainable in the area because of a number of factors, including the unpredictable and potentially dangerous weather, and the low number of tourists.

The project requires 300 000 visitors a year – more than twice the current figure, according to City Press.

Mabuyakhulu has promised there would be a full environmental impact assessment of the plan.

  • Leanne Shanks - 2013-08-04 21:13

    WTF??!!!! Is it 01 April?!!

      Darren Raath - 2013-08-05 06:39

      another cANCer white elephant in the pipeline,at the expense of the sensitive environment this time!

      Kobus Oosthuizen - 2013-08-05 09:51

      for starters they don't say the area of the berg where this is proposed to be, and secondly, i honestly don't see the problem of stringing a cable to the top - if it were a power line, nobody would have batted an eyelid. not everyone is fortunate enough to be in a physical state to hike up there, and it certainly is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. the berg is more than big enough for something like this to not impact on the serenity of the mountain range as a whole.

      Linds Ron-House - 2013-11-24 08:23

      Thanks Kobus. There are stop signs in here who will criticise anything and everything the government attempts to do. These stop signs also criticised the Gautrain, yet they use it to full capacity today. The cable car will attract more tourists and stimulate more economic activity in the area, thereby creating jobs.

  • Cilliers Prins - 2013-08-04 21:18

    Tends to remind one of the general, continuous 'reinventing the wheel' process that is redefining South Africa's global credibility. Other examples: Ruin agriculture, then comment that it is South Africa's future after all. Exhaust fuel price equalization fund and then propose toll gates to recoup. Results: Zimbabwe has a higher GDP than South Africa and ZAR R10 = US $1.

      Deon Kruger - 2013-08-05 09:05

      HUH Zims GDP is about $ 10 billion, South Africa's is about $ 400 Billion, if gonna make an argument make sure your facts are right

  • Jonathan Newman - 2013-08-04 22:11

    I'm working on my reply to the feasibility study, but basically there are some major factual inaccuracies, misleading statements and contradictions - I will forward my reply to News24 when its ready. I have also run the numbers on it and the results basically imply that a government grant of close to 50% of the R500m capital outlay in order for it to be even remotely financially viable.

      Bruce Giles - 2013-08-04 23:26

      sell Nkandla, that should raise the needed funds.

      Don Tandy - 2013-08-05 08:03

      @Bruce - that won't bring in much. The kraal may have supposedly had +R200m spent on it, but most of that went into the back pockets of all the thieves involved in the various scams, and not convverted into 'bricks and mortar', so the real value of the compound is not very much.

  • Steven Melville Armour - 2013-08-05 06:28

    Another waste of our money,blerry clowns

  • Janette Marais - 2013-08-05 07:28

    Leave the Drakensberg alone.............we like it untouched

  • Don Tandy - 2013-08-05 07:58

    My bet says the project will go ahead - fully funded by the government and no doubt involving Chancellor House or some such fraudulent set-up involving ANCorruption cadres. Anarchy Nepotism Corruption - business as usual on the gravy train.

  • Faerra Bra - 2013-08-05 08:49

    Would be a good idea to have a cable car there especially for the disabled old and sickly - works well at Hartees, Table Mountain and in Europe

  • Daniel Schay - 2013-08-05 08:50

    Surely if it was unanimously agreed that a Via Ferreta in the Drakensberg was contrary to the ecological standards of the area, a giant monstrosity of a cable car should definitely be prevented. I can't believe that the government would think of defacing a world heritage site in such an unbelievably heinous manner. If you get to experience the top of the berg it should be because you got up their through sweat, hard work and most of all without impacting on the beauty of the area...

      Kobus Oosthuizen - 2013-08-05 09:54

      there already is a via ferrata at the western buttress on the amphitheater, don't confuse it with a cable-car.

      Andre Theron - 2013-08-06 09:55

      Kobus, Daniel is talking about that specific via ferrata and it was removed because of the reasons he stated. a Via ferrata's ecological impact is null compared to a cable car. The Mweni area is one of the final wildernesses South Africa has to offer. There is nothing up there that the old and sickly and 300000 other people will enjoy, it is the wilderness and the challenge that makes that area special. They are targeting Mweni clearly because it is a bit slow to become a reserve, but it will become one, and finally make the green on the map continuous from the Sentinel to Bushman's neck

  • Justin Hemming - 2013-08-05 09:05

    Let Zuma and his cronies take the first ride - just before a typical summer afternoon thunderstorm - Waste of time, waste of tax payers money. Leave our pristine world heritage site alone.

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