standoff over two rival developments

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

KwaZulu-Natal's organised business yesterday threw its weight behind the R44billion AmaZulu World Project backed by King Goodwill Zwelithini.

The project, which will create an estimated 10000 jobs, was initiated for the Macambini area on a prime 16500ha plot of traditional land on the northern side of uThukela River.

It will have a blend of development zones, of which the key elements are the first world-class internationally branded entertainment theme park in Africa, its largest shopping destination, most comprehensive and advanced sports village development, largest lifestyle community, and first dedicated education and health village.

This will be alongside hotels, resorts, spas, a marina, a variety of residential offerings, community facilities and nature reserves.

The organised business stance effectively ignores the counter R55billion Macambini Sports City Development on the north coast - preferred by local chief Khayelihle Mathaba.

The AmaZulu World Project was launched by Premier S'bu Ndebele and King Zwelithini, and is to be developed by Dubai-based Ruwaad group. The competing Macambini project is backed by Sport Cities International (SCI) - a member of the Bukhatir Group, also based in Dubai.

At a media briefing held in Durban, the KwaZulu-Natal Growth Coalition pledged support for the Ndebele-led initiative.

John Barton, co-chairman of the coalition, said they backed the Ruwaad project as it could potentially be one of Africa's biggest single development projects. Ndebele is also a co-chairman of the coalition. "We urge people and the business community to support the Ruwaad investors to ensure that the project is a success," Barton said.

Durban Chamber of Commerce president Moses Tembe said they are really grateful that there will be a project that aims to change lives of the people in the province.

"All businessmen should stand behind it to ensure that it becomes a success," he said.

Chief Mathaba is in favour of the SCI initiative. He had raised concern that the AmaZulu project will remove them from their ancestral land.

Last month, Mathaba signed a memorandum of understanding with SCI to accept the proposed project.

A high-level meeting has been set with Mathaba, the Growth Coalition and Ruwaad today.