Witness: Development – Marchers threaten blockades


Development: Marchers threaten blockades
26 Nov 2008
Bongani Mthembu

THE Macambini clan on KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast has threatened to
bring the economy of the province to its knees by blocking the two road
corridors that link two economic hubs, Richards Bay and Empangeni.

The community has given Premier S’bu Ndebele until December 3 to stop
pursuing the R55 billion tourism development by the Dubai-based Ruwaad
Corporation in their area, which they say will result in between 8 000
and 10 000 people being evicted from their homes.

They threatened that if Ndebele fails to respond, thousands of people
will block the N2 and R102 until their demands are met.

The demand is in a memorandum handed over to Professor Musa Xulu from
Ndebele’s office at Mandeni police station yesterday.

More than 5 000 people, including children as young as eight, marched
from the Isithebe industrial area to the police station.

The Macambini community reportedly stands to lose control of over 16 556
hecatres of their land should the planned development go ahead.

Traditional leader inkosi Khayelihle Mathaba, the Ingonyama Trust Board,
which manages all tribal land in the province, and the community have
all criticised the provincial government for failing to consult.

They claim that Ndebele, who is behind the project, and Ruwaad, have
failed to consult them and they have resolved not to allow the Dubai
company to carry out the project.

What makes the community even angrier is that Ndebele is currently suing
Mathaba for defamation over statements that Mathaba allegedly made
during one of the meetings where the development was discussed.

Community spokesman Herbert Mbambo described Ndebele as arrogant, saying
that he has ignored their concerns.

“We have invited Ndebele several times but he refused to come and listen
to our concerns. We will teach him a lesson by blocking the roads during
the festive months when a lot of goods are transported,” he said.

The two roads are extensively used by people who travel to Mozambique,
Swaziland and small towns in northern Zululand.

Provincial director General Dr Kwazi Mbanjwa said government would
continue to consult people.