Premier licked in R44bn deal

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The recently announced R44 billion project initiated by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele has been sabotaged.

Chief Khayelihle Mathaba has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai-based Sport Cities International (SCI) - a member of the Bukhatir Group - indicating an acceptance of the new project and not the one spearheaded by Ndebele.

At a media briefing, Mathaba and SCI indicated their project would be launched in 18 months. Mathaba said he signed with SCI after both parties agreed that people would not be removed from ancestral land.

Yesterday the international real estate giant SCI agreed to invest over R55 billion in the Macambini Sports City development spanning 500 hectares on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal and were given the go-ahead by the community and its local traditional leaders.

The Ndebele project called Amazulu World was launched at a glittering event in Dubai earlier this month. At the time, it was made clear by locals that the project had the blessing of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini but not that of its local leaders.

The rejection of the premier's initiative was evident because Mathaba refused to be part of a delegation with Ndebele and King Zwelithini when they went to Dubai to finalise the investment earlier this month.

Ndebele was accused of failing to consult the community over the development.

Mathaba said he was asked by his people to meet the investor over the project.

Macambini Sports City development is expected to stimulate economic growth and strengthen infrastructure and create 20000 jobs.

Ndebele was in a cabinet meeting yesterday and is expected to comment later.

"We believe we can make a huge difference in people's lives. It's not about money but about benefiting the people," said Ilya Baig of SCI.