All welcome at cable car talks
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.