Park is a route out of poverty

Canaan Mdletshe

The poverty stricken community of Bhengazi in KwaZulu-Natal has seen a 60 percent growth in tourism since the establishment of the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park in northern Zululand.

District mayor Lawrence Mthombeni said the opening of Isimangaliso created employment for about 3 000 locals.

Mthombeni was speaking at the opening of new roads over the weekend. "This has been a major boost to the economy by providing jobs," he said.

The park has spent R77million on its development, of which R34 million has gone to 34 local Small Medium Micro Enterprise contractors.

Weziwe Thusi, MEC for arts, culture and tourism said government had invested considerable resources in infrastructure and that a further R80 million had been sourced for additional improvements.