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Ithala to be developer of Drakensberg project

File photo: Tourists will be able to take the car from the proposed base station in the Mnweni valley, west of Bergville, to the summit station on Mount Amery in the Royal Natal National Park.

File photo: Tourists will be able to take the car from the proposed base station in the Mnweni valley, west of Bergville, to the summit station on Mount Amery in the Royal Natal National Park.

Published Sep 8, 2014

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Durban -

The Ithala Development Finance Corporation is to be appointed as the developer of the proposed R500 million Drakensberg cableway project, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs has confirmed.

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Department spokesman Bheko Madlala said Ithala would drive funding for the project. The department was also looking to woo potential financial backers, including the Development Bank of South Africa, the National Empowerment Fund and the Industrial Development Corporation.

Ithala would be responsible for identifying an appropriate business model and for developing the terms of reference that would influence the content of the Environmental Impact Assessment. Ithala would be supported by a technical team of senior government officials and private sector representatives, who would be led by the head of the provincial department. This team would have to identify and appoint a potential cableway operator.

MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu had already reached out to his counterparts in Lesotho and the Free State and they have expressed “unqualified support” for the project, Madlala said.

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Mabuyakhulu believes that the proximity to the Free State and Lesotho made a compelling case for his department to ensure a collective interest in the project, as it would have cross-border socio-economic benefits.

The department is looking to extend the cableway to the Afriski ski resort in Lesotho.

- The Mercury

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