'Tribe, inkosi under threat in land deal'

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Removing people from their land at Macambini on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast could threaten the stature of the tribe and its leader, the Ingonyama Trust Board has warned.

The land, which holds 14 villages (izigodi), is wanted by two Dubai-based developers, the Ruwaad Consortium and Sport Cities International (SCI).

Both companies aim to turn Macambini into a multi-billion rand tourist paradise. But, they have to meet requirements set by the board before they get access to the land.

Ruwaad plans to develop 16500ha of the area at a cost of R55billion while SCI wants to spend R23billion on 1000ha.

Macambini villagers prefer the SCI bid because it will not remove them from their ancestral land nor threaten the stature of Inkosi Khayelihle Mathaba.

The board (ITB), which is a legal body that oversees tribal land in KwaZulu-Natal, arranged a media tour of the area at the weekend. ITB deputy chairman Justice Jerome Ngwenya said there are critical questions to be asked about the Ruwaad development.

"Just imagine removing people from almost 19000ha and packing 14 izigodi into 500ha. The question is, what happens to the tribal administration? It will be tantamount to de-establishing the tribal council and an inkosi may no longer qualify to be an inkosi."