All wel­come at ca­ble car talks

The Mercury - - NEWS - Mer­cury Re­porter

LO­CAL com­mu­ni­ties, en­vi­ron­men­tal groups and any other crit­ics of the pro­posed Drak­ens­berg ca­ble car project were “more than wel­come” to at­tend an in­ter­na­tional ca­ble car con­fer­ence planned by the pro­vin­cial Depart­ment of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment, Tourism and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs.

Mike Mabuyakhulu, the MEC for this depart­ment, was re­act­ing yes­ter­day to crit­i­cism from DA rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ann McDon­nell who said com­mu­nity and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups ap­peared to have been “shunned” de­lib­er­ately and ex­cluded from groups in­vited to at­tend the pro­posed con­fer­ence.

Mabuyakhulu’s spokesman, Bheko Mad­lala, said the depart­ment ac­knowl­edged that there were groups op­posed to plans to build a ca­ble car route from the Bergville area to the bound­ary of the Ukhahlamba-Drak­ens­berg World Her­itage Site.

Mad­lala said crit­ics would not be ex­cluded from the pro­posed con­fer­ence to dis­cuss the pro­posal.

“Ev­ery­one is wel­come at the ta­ble of ideas,” he said.

He was not able, how­ever, to say how much the con­fer­ence might cost, nor when it would be held.

“All the lo­gis­ti­cal de­tails of the con­fer­ence, in­clud­ing the costs, are still be­ing worked out at this stage.”

Re­spond­ing to writ­ten ques­tions from the DA ear­lier this month, Mabuyakhulu listed sev­eral in­ter­est groups that would be in­vited.

They in­cluded ca­ble car op­er­a­tors from Australia, China, Is­rael, Switzer­land and Cape Town, in­ter­na­tional in­vestors, devel­op­ment fi­nance of­fi­cials, gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor groups in­volved in tourism and del­e­ga­tions from Le­sotho and the Free State.

Mabuyakhulu made no men­tion of invit­ing com­mu­nity and en­vi­ron­ment groups op­posed to the project.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.