STUFF your r44bn

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The proposed R44billion rand tourism project spearheaded by KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele and supported by King Goodwill Zwelithini is falling apart.

"The government, ITB and King Goodwill Zwelithini have no power to sign the deal with any investor without the blessings of the community," Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) spokesman Justice Ngwenya said yesterday.

He said any decision had to involve the community or tribal council.

Ngwenya's assertion bolsters local chief Khayelihle Mathaba's outright rejection of the Ndebele-King project with Dubai consortium Ruwaad.

The tourist city on the banks of the Indian Ocean in the heartland of the Macambini tribal area is scheduled to cover 16000ha and to create 160000 jobs.

The project is being rejected by the community for fear that it will result in 8500 families having to vacate their ancestral land.

At a meeting organised by the ITB at the tribal court the community said they did not want the development project to be spearheaded by Ruwaad.

They said they had given local chief Mathaba permission to sign with another Dubai-based investor, Sport Cities International (SCI), because it would not rob them of their land.

Mathaba said he had many concerns about the RuwaadNdebele project.

He said he had received a document from Ruwaad but had not signed it because it did not follow the right procedures.

"I do not want any involvement of politics in community projects," Mathaba said.

"This matter involves peoples' lives and needs to be handled according to their will."

Referring to this week's Growth Coalition support for the Ndebele project, Mathaba said: "We do not even know about the business people who had a meeting in Durban and we were not even invited."

A local resident, Mdumiseni Kubheka, said their land was precious and had to be jealously protected..