Berg cableway: DA warn MEC against ‘pie in the sky’ scheme

Johann Krog, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Economic Development and Tourism

The proposed Drakensburg cableway must be privately funded and form part of an integrated tourism development strategy within KwaZulu-Natal – one which combines private, provincial, municipal and foreign investment along a long-term trajectory.

This is the view of the Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal as provincial Economic Development and Tourism (ECOD) MEC, Mike Mabuyakhulu forges ahead with the scheme. The DA also welcomes the announcement that a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) rather than a basic assessment is to be conducted.

The DA does not doubt that the MEC’s intentions are good – we all want to see KwaZulu-Natal thrive as a tourism destination.  It is essential though that the cableway project forms part of the provincial development plan (PDP) and that it is not a random and desperate proposal to inject some life into the so-called “sleeping giant” that is the Drakensburg.

The DA believes that the area is in need of attention before a project of this magnitude can even be considered.  The R600 – the route between Winterton, Bergville and the Oliviershoek Pass is a notorious stretch of road due to a lack of basic maintenance.  KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife has also proved itself to be a dismal model for tourism – not only are its access roads poor but proper management of the hospitality sector is seriously lacking with a dearth of affordable and attractive accommodation.

The MEC must ensure that the basics are in place before considering such an ambitious plan.  The alternative is another ‘pie in the sky’ scheme – one which could end up costing KZN taxpayers a lot of money.