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r1bn DEAL - 'no such thing'

By Mhlaba Memela | Jan 15, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE KwaZulu-Natal government has denied any knowledge of a multibillion-rand development deal signed between Americans and the Nhlangwini clan at Highflats.

Inkosi Melizwe Dlamini told journalists this week that he had signed a R1,1billion deal with the US department of agriculture to improve the lives of the rural community.

Dlamini said the Americans had identified the Ophepheni area to build a shopping complex that would include a private hospital.

He said the deal was aimed at creating job opportunities to address poverty in the area.

Dlamini said the deal had received the blessing of Premier Zweli Mkhize because the investors had told him (Dlamini) that they had first met with Mkhize.

But Mkhize said he had never met the American investors.

He refuted Dlamini's statement that representatives of the US department of agriculture had discussed the deal with him and that he had given his full blessing.

Mkhize's spokesperson, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said the provincial government welcomed any foreign direct investment that sought to ensure the creation of job opportunities and the overall development of the province.

"But we want to state categorically that the premier is not aware of this project.

"Contrary to reports the premier did not meet potential investors on Sunday.

"He had attended a service of the Edendale congregation of the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa at the Edendale LayCentre," Sibiya said.

MEC for economic development Mike Mabuyakhulu also said he had no knowledge of the development at Nhlangwini.

Mabuyakhulu's spokesperson Bheko Madlala said: "There are procedures to be followed when investors come to the province.

"We are not aware of any investment by Americans in that area."

Inkosi Dlamini said he had received a report from the clan coordinator Bonga Dlamini who had been in contact with the American investors.

"On Sunday we organised a meeting with the investors in Durban at about 8am.

"We were told that the investors were still locked in a meeting with the premier and that our meeting would start at 10am.

"The leader of the investors delegation, Ian de Vries, came and signed the deal with me.

"Everything that was done on the day is on record.

"We are shocked that they did not meet the premier, but we will investigate that," Dlamini said.


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