Mtunzini in the news . . .    

Hotel at uMlalazi mouth
will be 'ready for 2010'

A multi-million rand hotel to be built inside an uMhlathuze tribal authority that is expected to be ready for 2010 has yet to start construction, but the developers are confident they will make the deadline, writes Jonathan Erasmus in the Zululand Fever (17 July 2009).

Shangri-la Beach Resort
Shangri-La Holiday Beach Resort presently occupies the site of the proposed Sawubona Hotel near Port Durnford.
 Sawubona Hotel

'Serious biodiversity issues' with  
new development
- KZN Wildlife

The proposed development of a large hotel at the mouth of uMlalazi River raises 'serious biodiversity issues' according to a report by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. It also described the Environmental Scoping Report produced for the Sawubona project to be 'deficient' in its identification, investigation and assessment of the ecology of the proposed hotel site and its environment.
Ezemvelo previously did an Environmental Impact Assessment of the site when the present occupiers of the property, Shangri-La, wanted to expand its resort by adding a further seven accommodation units and an ablution facility.
This application was rejected due to the serious impact it would have on the sensitive site.
Given the nature of the proposed development (which is considerably larger than anthing Shangri-La ever envisaged), the proposed development would be fatally flawed, the report said. It would be unlikely to be ecologically sustainable given the potential for significant permanent and unavoidable impact on critically important biodiversity.
uMlalazi estuary is rated in the top 25% of estuaries in KZN by Ezemvelo and allowing a development which would threaten that status was not a feasible option.

The Port Durnford development is part of aBEE R600-million hotel chain to be called Sawubona Hotels and is expected to accommodate almost 250 people in four or five star accommodation.
Being financed by soccer tycoon Jomo Sono, who already owns the Formula One Group as well as a stake in the Southern Sun Group, Sawubona Hotel project manager Happy Mphiphira said they are still awaiting environmental approval which should have been completed by the end of June.
'Change our plans'
'We believe we will be 2010 ready however we might have to change our building plans to accommodate the shortened time and the recommendations by the environmental report,' said Mphiphira.
The site is on the north bank of the uMlalazi River mouth, 20km south of Richards Bay and falls within the Mkhwanazi Tribal Authority.
Authority spokesman Sipho Mkhwanazi said the community would have liked the project to have started 'yesterday' but they respect the due processes of government.
'The Mkhwanazi Tribal Authority is 100% behind the project however we respect the relevant authorities doing the necessary environmental assessments,' said Mkhwanazi.
The tribal authority has been promised a 40% stake in the project as well as first preference and training for employment opportunities.
Scoping Report
The hotel which was scheduled to break soil earlier this year experienced a set-back when several environmental bodies discarded the original scoping report in March citing multiple omissions in the document.
'The document lacked necessary information such as not giving detail of the project's footprint, properly addressing service provision nor did it appear to consider the Integrated Coastal Management Act. However we are not objecting to the project just monitoring that due process is followed,' said WESAA KZN region EIA Co-ordinator Carolyn Schwegman.

 Silence surrounds multi-billion dollar theme park proposed at Amatigulu mouth
Middle East developers planning to build a multi-billion dollar theme park on the Zululand coast between Thukela River and the Amatigulu River estuary have been very silent of late.
Since the announcement of the R44-billion 'unique African' destination development - known as Amazulu World - in October last year, the project immediately fell foul of local communities who would be seriously affected by a development on this scale.
Its launch amidst great fanfare with apparent endorsement of the Zulu monarch, King Zwelithini, and the then Premier of KZN, Mr Sbu Ndebele, revealed outrageous plans such as the erection of a 106-m tall statue of King Shaka.
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