File photo: The party was responding to an article in The Mercury last week, reporting that Mike Mabuyakhulu, the provincial MEC for Economic Affairs, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, was arranging another investors conference in Durban. Picture: Colleen Dardagan

Durban - Fresh plans to build a R500-million “pie in the sky” cable car in the uKhahlamba/Drakensberg mountains have come under fire from the DA.

The party was responding to an article in The Mercury last week, reporting that Mike Mabuyakhulu, the provincial MEC for Economic Affairs, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, was arranging another investors conference in Durban to sell the proposal, having recently advertised a new feasibility study.

DA MPL Ann McDonnell accused Mabuyakhulu of sidelining the provincial portfolio committee on economic affairs, by failing to keep it informed on the proposed project.

“The DA is appalled that this pie in the sky” project is back on the table. The initiative has had very little support from both conservation and local stakeholders, yet the MEC appears determined to bulldoze ahead with it.

“That the portfolio committee has also not been kept informed of any developments smacks of arrogance by the MEC and his department.”

While a cableway in the Berg might be a “nice to have” project, McDonnell said the proposal came at a time of extreme financial challenges and cutbacks.

The estimated R500m it would take to build the cableway would be far better spent developing sustainable rural tourism and small businesses.

“The DA is determined to fight this self-serving abuse of taxpayers’ money. The project must now finally crash and burn,” she said.

Mabuyakhulu’s office has not responded to queries sent last week on why a new feasibility study and investors conference had been advertised.

The Mercury