Isimangaliso News & Info

February 16, 2010

Illegal resorts in iSimangeliso park demolished

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tamboer @ 8:46 am

Illegal resorts in iSimangeliso park demolished
16 Feb 2010 Sapa[_id]=35937

ISIMANGALISO Wetland Park officials yesterday demolished three resorts declared illegal by the high court in Durban late last year.

“Three unauthorised commercial developments were today [Monday] dismantled by an independent contractor in the presence of the sheriff of the high court,” iSimangaliso CEO Andrew Zaloumis said.

The three resorts were built in the Coastal Forest Reserve in Kosi Bay, which is part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000.

Police officers accompanied the sheriff to ensure the court orders were correctly executed.

Speaking after his property was demolished, George Francois said he was “devastated and angry”.

“They destroyed my structure today. I am totally devastated. I have lost more than R500 000, which I raised by selling my only house.”

On November 23 last year the high court ruled that, should the developers fail to demolish the properties before December 31, conservation authorities would tear them down, restore the damaged bush and recover the costs from them.

Francois, whose resort was in the KwaDapha area in Kosi Bay, said he got permission to build from local traditional leaders.

“When I got a permission to build the lodge, I sold my house … so that I would use the proceeds to build it. That money is gone now and I am homeless.”

Francois, who was in hospital awaiting the delivery of his first daughter when interviewed, said he had been told his belongings were stolen when his property was demolished. He partnered with local residents to build the lodge because he wanted to uplift the community.

Chairman of the iSimangaliso Authority, Mavuso Msimang, said the resorts were demolished after the owners refused to make “a voluntary and dignified exit”.

“If we did not do this we would be failing in our commitments and responsibilities to the people of South Africa, to future generations and to the world.”

With the resorts demolished, the heat is on the local traditional leader, inkosi Mabhudu Tembe, to resign from the iSimangaliso board.

In a meeting held recently, angry residents asked Tembe to resign from the board.


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