Jacques Smalle MP
DA Limpopo Provincial Leader
The Democratic Alliance is extremely concerned by Vhembe District Municipality (VDM)’s instruction (click here) to Eskom to disconnect electricity to Awelani Eco-Tourism Lodge in Masisi.
The basis of VDM’s instruction to Eskom is that this community refuses to grant VDM a 10% stake in this project.
This being tourism week, the community of Masisi is being denied financial benefits which it can derive from properly running this Lodge. This multi-million Park and Lodge, covering over 1700 hectors, was given to the community as part of government’s land redistribution process. It currently has 40 employees.
Now with VDM’s actions, this project stands to collapse.
To compound the situation for Awelani Eco-Tourism is that they themselves cannot connect directly from Eskom as the account is held by VDM.
Land redistribution process is meant to benefit the communities, it is not meant as a revenue scheme for municipalities. It is communities and its people and not government entities that are land reform beneficiaries.
The DA fully supports land reform process especially when it uplifts the communities. Awelani Eco-Tourism project is one of those projects. This project has the potential to thrive and employ more people.
We urge Local Government MEC Mr. Ishmael Kgejepe to intervene in order to ensure that an VDM desists from its heavy-handedness in dealing with this community. An amicable solution must be arrived at.