By Ann McDonnell, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA):
THE DA has today submitted a written parliamentary question to KZN’s EDTEA department, calling for urgent feedback on any intervention to be taken following violent conflict between the community of KwaNgwasane in Ingwavuma and iSimangaliso conservation officials.
The situation has become so severe that a High court interdict has been extended to protect the rangers and the buildings from attack.
One of the major issues between the two groups appears to be the promise of jobs – specifically in connection with a proposed new road – which has failed to materialise. This has created frustration, leading to the vandalism of buildings and threats to park staff.
The DA does not regard interdicts as a permanent solution for iSimangaliso’s woes.
Current ongoing tensions are also a very definite threat to tourism numbers. The world is a lot smaller with the advent of social media and bad news has the potential to reach every corner of the globe as people tweet and retweet what they read about iSimangaliso.
We expect answers from EDTEA MEC Mabuyakhulu. It is imperative that KZN’s Environmental Affairs department, along with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, actively seek solutions to end this violent impasse.