Row brewing over KZN land project
KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele yesterday warned would-be foreign investors to go through the government before going ahead with any development in the province.
The warning comes after perceived political sabotage of Ndebele's R44billion Macambini project.
Ndebele unveiled the project during a trip to Dubai early this month.
It was endorsed by Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini, who flew with Ndebele to Dubai to unveil the plan on October 7.
At the time the community in the area snubbed the Ndebele-led initiative, saying it would mean moving from their ancestral land.
On Wednesday Macambini traditional leader Khayelihle Mathaba said he and his community were instead endorsing a rival project by Dubai-based developer Sport Cities International (CSI), an affiliate of the Bukhatir Group.
The R55billion development covers 500ha of prime North Coast land.
Its features include high-rise residential and commercial towers, a world-class shopping mall, a five-star hotel and a multipurpose stadium.
Ndebele is furious over the move, prompting director-general Kwazi Mbanjwa to urge all would-be investors to in future go through the normal process of having projects considered for incorporation into local integrated development plans.
"This is the only legal route to go once any proposal has been firmed," Mbanjwa said.
He said they would "only do what is in the best interests of the Macambini community, the people of KwaZulu-Natal and the people of South Africa".
But the community remains unfazed by the reaction from government officials. Mathaba said they were prepared to go to court because he "did not sign with the Ruwaad consortium".
"My people will not be removed from their ancestral land," he said. "If the king has given his blessing to the project he must explain it to the people.
"The people have rights that neither the king nor Ndebele can ignore."
He said he would meet the king today to discuss the matter.
"I have been contacted by someone from the king's office but no agenda was given to me."
Meanwhile, Protas Madlala, an independent political analyst, said the development of Macambini had become political terrain.
Madlala said such developments would always have casualties.