Documents & Statements relating to the Busingatha Proposal
Detailed notes on the conference held in June 2016 by delegates from the KZN Section of the Mountain Club of South Africa, including learning points, which are listed at the end of the document.
The first two learning points listed were:
1. As stated on more than one occasion during the conference "the train has left the station". One had to be there to experience the build-up and expectations towards this perceived and much promoted "great new development" that was going to "abolish poverty and create many jobs".
2. It was the first indication of transparency (voiced in a statement once by a facilitator at the dinner and then on the concluding day) that the cable car itself would not be sustainable, nor create all the jobs expected, but that these would come from all the tourism initiatives and developments that would follow on as a result of the cable car.
Drakensburg cableway has already cost KZN taxpayers' R6 million and counting by Ann McDonnell, MPL, Democratic Alliance media statement
A much-maligned proposal to build a cableway in KZN's Okhahlamba region has already cost the province's taxpayers almost R6 million - even before any final decisions have been made on whether to go ahead with the project, or not.
The DA is vehemently opposed to such frivolous expenditure that won't create the jobs it ought to. There are far more pressing issues that the department must deal with in order to fulfil its primary mandate - to create an environment conducive to job creation.
Given the numerous red flags around this project, the DA expects MEC Zikalala to review this entire project.
29 September 2016
Written reply from Desmond Golding (HOD of KZN DEDTEA) to Ann McDonnell, the DA's spokeswoman on Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA). The document revealed the following:
- R1 147 752.00 has been spent on the pre-feasibility studies and the business plan.
- These studies did not address key technical and regulatory questions relevant for applying for an EIA, and thus the current EIA has been put on hold.
- A tender is currently open for another feasibility study and full development of base technical and regulatory documents for the development of the cable car.
- The KwaZulu-Natal Property Development Holdings (KPDH) have taken over the project from Ihthala and will finance the base studies for the project, for which an amount of R3 600 000 has been set aside.
- The project was first conceptualized in 2005 through a Feasibility study that was commissioned by the Development Bank of South Africa; the proposed site was not feasible for the development of a cable car.
- R 1 035 181.27 was spent on the Cable Car Investment Conference held in June 2016.
- The Cape Town Cable Car company was consulted separately prior to the conference and inputs were provided hence they were not invited to the conference.
12 September 2016
Cableway project designed to shift focus from KZN's real tourism issues by Ann McDonnell, MPL, Democratic Alliance media statement
The DA in KZN is disappointed to see that new EDTEA MEC, Sihle Zikalala - like his predecessor - appears intent on steamrolling ahead with the controversial proposed Drakensberg cableway project.
The R500 million uKhahlamba cableway has been described by the MEC as a "game changer". However, like all huge catalytic projects, it is set to remove the focus from the real issues affecting tourism in KZN.
23 June 2016
Agenda for Cablecar Conference by KZN DEDTEA
The agenda for the Cablecar Conference which was held in June 2016.
20 June 2016
The water production function of the Drakensberg cannot afford to be compromised by Robin Gardner, Mountain Club Of South Africa, KZN Section
The Maloti-Drakensberg range of mountains constitutes the principal water production area of South Africa. This strategic watershed depends upon the integrity and health of its montane grassland ecosystem to function efficiently. The Thukela River is the largest of the three main river systems draining the province of KwaZulu-Natal, with approximately 60% of its water originating from the Drakensberg escarpment. The upper station of the proposed Drakensberg cableway is planned to be positioned at the headwaters of the eBusingatha River, a tributary of the Thukela. The two cableway sub-stations, and the base-station, are planned to be positioned along the flanks of the same river. The eBusingatha River has been delivering pristine mountain water to downstream communities for generations. The establishment of the 7km cableway will indeed pose high risk to the entire Busingatha natural ecosystem, including the provision of high quality drinking water to those who live in the area. Refuse and sewage disposal systems will undoubtedly be part of the design, but due to the ever present possibility of human and mechanical error, from beginning of construction work and into the future, there will be the ever present associated high risk of pollution and degradation of the catchment area. The soil erosion that will undoubtedly arise from the significantly increased level of foot traffic on the summit in the vicinity of the upper station poses a threat to the future well-being of the Maloti-Drakensberg catchment area. The upper Senqu River catchment is destined to be a major provider of high quality water to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Degeneration of the grassland ecosystem in the upper Senqu catchment area through increased human activity could have a major impact on the planned water supply of the river to the LHWP.
Potential Risk to Conservation From the Construction of the Proposed Drakensberg Cable Car by Jan Phelan, Mountain Club Of South Africa, KZN Section
The most significant impacts for conservation from the proposed cable car are likely to be with regard to the following:
- High risk for endangered Bearded and Cape Vultures which breed here.
- Exacerbate the invasive alien plant problem which is the single biggest threat to the WHS.
- Increase the risk of the existing fungal threat to amphibians.
- Possible degradation of a fragile alpine landscape and sensitive biodiversity
- Visitor Safety Risk owing to precipitous terrain and unpredictable weather patterns
- Detract from attractiveness of Community Nature Reserve
- Potential Indirect impacts (including sociological and cultural) need input from management custodian of the WHS (EKZNW).
World heritage status may be under threat if guidelines are not followed by Murray Sanders, Mountain Club Of South Africa, KZN Section
The World Heritage Committee notes the State Party of South Africa's agreement to carry-out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed cableway, and requests that it should include a detailed Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment and ICOMOS' Guidelines on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties, and also requests the State Party of South Africa to submit a copy of the completed assessment to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies.
Without a verdict of 'feasible', and without a favourable EIA, further promotion of the cableway project at public expense is unjustified by Michael Relihan, Mountain Club Of South Africa, KZN Section
The KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs department (EDTEA) and affiliates have promoted the Drakensberg cableway project actively as a fait complete by various means for a few years at public expensive. Nevertheless no EIA report is available to date and the initiation process of this is questioned! A second feasibility study was tendered for in May 2016, as many unaddressed public objections on practical and economic feasibility issues were raised to the 2013 feasibility study. The recently advertised new tender for a full feasibility study are tacit admission by EDTEA that major questions about the project need answers before the project can be considered 'feasible'. Moreover, only once an EIA has been completed can any official decision be made about whether the project may proceed. It is high time that a brake be put on promoting a project that lacks the support of both a positive feasibility verdict, and a positive EIA.
Report on expected negative impacts of the proposed Drakensberg Cableway on key attributes of the Drakensberg by Bill Bainbridge and Ilan Lax, Mountain Club Of South Africa, KZN Section / Wilderness Action Group
A suite of laws and policies have been put in place in terms of the requirements of UNESCO for World Heritage Sites and for the protection of such unique environments under the Constitution of South Africa. In terms of these laws various planning instruments have been adopted, viz., the Integrated Management Plan, the Development Concept Plan and the Wilderness Management Plan. Cableways are specifically noted as non-conforming developments for the area, even in the buffer zone. There is no doubt that a mass tourism instrument such as a cableway will irreversibly and inevitably destroy the present unspoiled natural beauty and wilderness character of many parts of the mountains, by imposing on it substantial artificial physical structures that are an indispensable element of any cableway, compounded by an artificial lighting system, often also compounded further by noisy activities including helicopter flights, not to mention the necessary likelihood of a road or roads being required during construction and subsequently for maintenance and access purposes. Such structures will also pose a threat to various rare biodiversity. It is difficult to determine without reference to detailed specifics whether a compromise can be reached between the need to protect the Drakensberg and the apparently opposing need to provide sustainable development to provide employment and improve the livelihoods of these rural communities.
Invitation to the Cablecar Conference by KZN DEDTEA
The invitation to the Cablecar Conference, held in June 2016, which was only extended to selected parties. Application for invitation was approved only after screening by the KZN DEDTEA.
Appointment of multidisciplinary professional to complete a full feasibility study for the development of the Drakensberg cable car and related activities by KwaZulu-Natal Property Development Holdings
Invitation to bid - BID NO. RFP 07/16. The tender notice which raised questions about why an apparent new feasibility study was being done. Only in September 2016, through a written reply to the Democratic Alliance was it revealed that the original studies "did not address key technical and regulatory questions relevant for applying for an EIA, and thus the current EIA has been put on hold".
Cancellation Of Bid RFP 04/15 by Ithala
Cancellation of Invitation to Bid RFP 04/15, the tender notice which was published in 2015. This particular example appeared on page 10 of the Business Times on 8 May 2016.
Government Tender Bulletin Vol 604, No 2888 by National Treasury
The tender notice for the "Appointment of a Service Provider Management, Organise and Implement the International Conference and Exhibition on a Drakensberg Cable Car" was released in this volume of the Government Tender Bulletin.
02 October 2015
No less than 7 issues and concerns relating to cable cars at various Heritage Sites across the world were discussed, including the Drakensberg cable car, as per excerpt below:
Notes the State Party of South Africa's agreement to carry-out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed cableway, and requests that it should include a detailed Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), in line with IUCN's World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment and ICOMOS' Guidelines on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties, and also requests the State Party of South Africa to submit a copy of the completed assessment to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies.
28 June - 8 July 2015
Invitation To Bid - RFP 04/15 by Ithala
Request for proposal (RFP) for the appointment of an environmental assessment consultancy services to conduct an environmental impacy assessment (EIA) for drakensberg cablecar project.
ITHALA Development Finance Corporation in partnership with Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs wishes to extend an invite from qualified bidders for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultancy services to submit proposals for the above project.
~19 May 2015
Budget Policy Speech 2015/2016 by KZN DEDTEA
Annual budget speach by Mabuyakhulu presented to the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature.
"Chairperson, during the pronouncement of the 2014/2015 budget speech, we made reference to fast tracking the implementation of strategic priorities from the Tourism Master Plan such as King Shaka's Statue, Drakensberg Cable Car, Bluff Bridge, Isandlwana Development and Nonoti Resort. In response to this commitment we have appointed Ithala Development Finance Corporation as an applicant for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Drakensberg Cable Car.
Moreover, we have established a task team mandated to provide strategic direction on the implementation of this project. The cable car will yield great economic spin-offs not only for Okhahlamba area but for the Province of KwaZulu-Natal as a whole; hence the Department has planned to host the Cable Car Conference and Exhibition. This is geared towards finding linkages that enhance economic growth through such a development. The conference will seek to:
• Create a platform for international cable car operators to share their experiences,
• Open a platform to engage with potential investors,
• Share environmental issues that can affect the development of the cable car,
• Investigate potential markets that can be tapped into,
• Explore new activities that could be undertaken in the area,
• Explore various manufacturing options for benchmarking purposes in order to obtain different intricacies of cable car concept, gain strategic direction and best practice,
• Provide a platform for networking and establishment of business linkages amongst key business and government decision makers (both from within and outside the borders of South Africa),
• Promote innovation and increased competitiveness in key sectors of the economy,
• Share lessons on successes and failures of such projects in the world.
Through the conference, we hope to get better understanding of environmental issues and mitigating factors that can influence the development of the cable car and best model to be utilized in development, management and operation of this project."
12 May 2015
Speaking notes on address given by Mabuyakhulu at the 2015 Tourism Indaba by DEDTEA
Key tourism projects were mentioned in this address which included the cable car proposal. It was mentioned that the project was expected to boost opportunities for small and big businesses and create 1200 new jobs.
9 May 2015
Estimates of Provincial Revenue and Expenditure, 2015-2016, KawZulu Natal by KZN Provincial Legislature
The cable car is mentioned several times in this document.
The two most important references are:
"In 2015/16, the allocation includes once-off funding for conducting the EIA in respect of the Drakensberg cable car. This assessment will be administered by Ithala, hence the funding is allocated under this entity." - an amount of R800 000 for the cable car EIA is indicated for the 201/2015 year, and a further R1.7 million for the same as a medium-term projection for the following year.
"Also, in 2013/14 and 2014/15, transfers were made for the Drakensberg cable car consultations in respect of Okhahlamba Municipality." - the audited outcome for these transfers in 2013/2014 was 4.183 million, and the revised estimate for 2-14/2015 is 1.793 million.
10 March 2015
State of Conservation Report for the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site by South African and Lesotho Governments
"The Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal within the State Party of South Africa is currently busy with a feasibility study for a cable car near the world heritage property. This process will be subjected to full environmental studies before any authorizations."
2014/2015 Provincial Budget vote for DEDTEA
Document on the 2014/2015 provincial budget for the DEDTEA in which it is indicated that R800 000 has been allocated to conduct the EIA for the cableway proposal, and that R1.793 million has been allocated to "the Drakensburg Cable Car Consultations in respect of Okhahlamba District Municipality".
Question posed to NDT at the National Assembly by NDT
The DA questioned the national Department of Tourism at the National Assembly, about their knowledge of the proposal. The response was that they were not aware of the project.
29 October 2014
Budget Policy Speech 2014/2015 by KZN DEDTEA
Annual budget speach by Mabuyakhulu.
It was announced that Ithala Development Finance Corporation is the be the project developer tasked with "the responsibility of initiating the process of undertaking the scanning of an appropriate business model and developing the terms of reference that would correctly influence the content of the EIA to be presented to appropriate authorities."
15 August 2014
Estimates of Provincial Revenue and Expenditure, 2014-2015, KawZulu Natal by KZN Provincial Legislature
Several mentions of an amount of R5.977 million for the cable car proposal in the 2013/2014 Revised Estimate of KZN provincial expenditure, and that this amnount was reclassified from Goods & Services to Tourism.
11 March 2014
Media Statment by the AmaZizi Royal Family
"We, the traditional leadership of the AmaZizi, wish to respond to recent news in the media about the plans of DEDT to extend the proposed Busingatha cableway. We are very concerned that our statement of 13 December 2013 about the cableway has still received no response from the department."
10 February 2014
Cable Car Questionnaire by DEDTEA
A questionnaire form, as part of the public consultation process by the DEDTEA, which was circulated to the local community roughly in February 2014. There is no clarity on what became of the completed forms.
Media Briefing by KZN DEDT
In this media release, it was announced that the cableway may be extended into Lesotho, and that consultations with counterparts in Lesotho and the Free State province had been undertaken. The public participation process was also extended to February 14. The DEDT also announced they were looking to appoint a developer who'll steer the project and help identify a suitable strategic partner. Promises were made that Unesco would be informed of the proposal.
30 Januray 2014
Additional comments regarding community consultation by Wilderness Action Group, African Conservation Trust and Vertical Endeavour
Comments submitted concerning the lack of community consultation.
Questions were raised on the validity of the meeting held at the Busingatha on 23 November 2013, following a statement released by the AmaZizi in which they unequivocally stated they did not want the cableway, and also stated that the royal family had not been consulted about the proposal or the meeting. Furthermore the meeting was held while most of the AmaZizi were in mourning and making funeral preparations for a deceased member of the royal family.
"In accordance with the guidelines laid out in the feasibility study, we submit that proper community consultation has not been conducted; neither has it been conducted in a sensitive manner."
31 December 2013
Review of the "Final Draft Business Plan for the Development of a Drakensberg Cable Car" by Newman Accounting and Tax Services
Newman Accounting and Tax Services was engaged by the African Conservation Trust and the Wilderness Action Group to review the “Final Draft Business Plan for the Development of a Drakensberg Cable Car” issued by Graham Muller Associates dated 14 October 2013.
The objective was to identify material concerns regarding the financial viability of the proposed Drakensberg Cable Car.
While there were various significant findings, the two key findings were as follows:
1. The projected volume of 300 000 users is not supported by statistics, market research or detailed and supported calculations. To achieve 300 000 visitors per annum, assuming 35.5% of visitors to the Northern Drakensberg were to use the cableway, the required growth in visitors to this region would be 526% - whether or not such a level of growth can reasonably be achieved is not supported by any reference to any precedent, market research or statistics.
2. The ticket prices of R350 per adult and R200 per child indicate that the proposed tariffs would be in excess of the majority of cableways around the world. No market research or statistics have been presented to indicate that the target market will be willing to spend this on the use of the cableway.
"While various other concerns in addition to the above are presented, with the substantial capital outlay, the success or failure of the proposed cableway lies primarily with the ticket price and number of tickets sold. The Business Plan does not adequately address these key aspects."
31 December 2013
Review Letter of Newman Review by Prof. P. Stegen
The above mentioned review was reviewed and endorsed by a peer.
"Based on my review, nothing has come to my attention that causes me to believe that the Report by Jonathan Newman, is not logical and does not address some of the financial concerns with the orginal Draft Business Plan of Graham Muller Associates."
31 December 2013
Statement regarding review of Draft Business Plan by Wilderness Action Group, African Conservation Trust and Vertical Endeavour
A letter accompanying the submission of the Review of the Final Draft Business Plan.
"Based on the findings of the review, there is considerable doubt and concern that the cableway cannot make the projected amount of money required for it to be viable.
There is rising concern over the manner in which certain aspects of this project have been conducted so far, as well as the accuracy of some of the information presented in the documents.
A project that will earn substantially less revenue than predicted and cost far more than estimated should not be allowed to proceed any further."
31 December 2013
Statement concerning the proposal and the Busingatha meeting held on 23 November 2013 by the AmaZizi royal family, the AmaZizi Wilderness Group & the Mnweni Wilderness Working Team
"FIRSTLY : The MEC Mabuyakhulu, DEDT has shown a complete lack of respect to the royal family of the AmaZizi, even after the loss of Nkosi Miya. They never formally introduced the proposed Busingatha cableway to the late Nkosi Miya and they have never come to consult at the Amazizi Tribal Office.
SECONDLY : Without any consultation with us, the office of Mabayukhlu put up their big tents at Busingatha on 23 November 2013, the day before the burial of the late Inkosi’s brother, who died soon after our Inkosi, and who was to be buried on 24 November. On 23 November while we, as the family, were preparing for the funeral of our Nkosi’s brother and were bringing his body from the mortuary, there were loud speakers in a mourning tribe.
I wish to make it known that, contrary to the claims of some people, Inkosi Miya never agreed to have the cableway in our area.
We, as the traditional leaders and authority of our people, kept in our office all the information and arrangements for the proclamation of a community nature reserve and wilderness area that we support. We do not want this cableway in our area.
The AmaZizi and Mnweni Wilderness groups do not support the cableway. We have spent a long time identifying a community wilderness area. We hope your support will be of much help to us. We were expecting that preparation will soon start for a proclamation for a community nature reserve that will include our wilderness area. Now we have been told about the idea of the cableway.
If you love mountains and wilderness and want to honour our culture please help us."
11 December 2013
The case for the Drakensberg cable car by KZN DEDT
"The Drakensberg Cableway is envisioned as a world-class tourism attraction in the Busingatha Valley, just south of Royal Natal National Park. It is envisaged that this will be a one of a kind attraction providing tourists of all ages and physical prowess the opportunity to ascend in comfort and safety close to the summit of Mount Amery where visitors will be able to enjoy (on most days) extensive vistas of the Drakensberg escarpment top and of the valleys below. On cloudy days, the vista will generally be a spectacularly beautiful mountain peaks jutting out from a moving sea of white cloud filling the valleys below. The development will constitute a sensitively engineered balance between eco-tourism and conservation related facilities, top-class nature and cultural education interpretative centres, together with a wide range of recreational, hospitality and commercial services."
approx. Dec 2013
Letter of concern to the KZN Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs
"I have attended a number of meetings related to the cableway, including Steering Committee meetings, and am extremely concerned about the way in which completely unrealistic and premature expectations of municipalities and communities are being raised about the proposed Busingatha cableway. Further, it seems the project was never formally introduced to the late Inkosi Miya who recently died. An increasing number of organisations and NGOs are also expressing serious concerns about the manner in which the process of the proposed cableway has taken place to date.
"I am drawing these issues to your attention in the hope that, should the proposal progress to the EIA stage, the flawed process that the project has taken to date will be thoroughly investigated."
11 December 2013
Notes from business meeting held on 5 Dec 2013 by Nora Choveaux
Important notes that were taken by an attendee of the meeting. These are the only notes available, since no minutes of the meeting where officially released. They provided important information on the current status of the proposal at the time. They also provided details on what was announced by the MEC and Graham Muller Associates, as well as some of the questions that were asked by people at the meeting.
Objection to late notice for Dec 5 business meeting
"Please will you ensure that this objection to the extremely short notice for the meeting is registered. The advertisement appeared on Tuesday 3 December in the Natal Witness. As a result of this short notice a range of concerned Interested and Affected Parties with whom I am in regular contact have informed me that they have not been able to re-schedule other commitments they had for the 5th . They are therefore unable to attend to voice their concerns and objections.
"The Wilderness Action Group have been informed by their legal advisor that the failure to give good and proper notice is a defect that in law cannot be condoned."
5 December 2013
Wilderness Action Group's Comments for the Dec 5th public meeting by Sheila Berry
"Even the calling of this public meeting, on 5 December 2013, with an advert appearing in the newspaper only two days prior to the meeting, blatantly violates the EIA regulations. The time is totally inadequate for IAPs to make arrangements to attend or to put concerns in writing. We join with other IAPs in strongly objecting to the short notice of this meeting which has effectively meant that a WAG representative is unable to attend."
5 December 2013
Vertical Endeavour's Preliminary Comments on the proposal by Chris Sommer
"We express concern about the viability and sustainability of the cableway.
"We are not convinced that the cableway will be a major benefit to the local people in the Busingata and surrounding areas.
"We do not believe that the cable car should be considered a better option to the long-standing plans of the local communities to have their land established as a nature reserve, when the existence of a cableway would in fact destroy the very thing that they have been working towards for many years.
"We believe that the cableway poses a high risk of irreversible loss to the environment, a risk that easily outweighs any potential positive contribution it ever hopes to achieve.
"Far more good, with a significantly wider endorsement, could be achieved with much less, at a substantially lower investment risk and detrimental impact."
4 December 2013
Business Plan Presentation by Graham Muller Associates
A document used for presentations on the feasibility study and business plan.
Public Consultations on the Proposed Cable Car by DEDTEA
Notice to the media concerning the public consultation the DEDTEA was about to embark on.
Wilderness Action Group's Preliminary Comments on the proposal by Sheila Berry
"WAG is concerned about the inaccuracy and inadequacy of the information provided for the current proposal and the haste with which it appears to be pushed through without an adequate public participation process taking place.
"The proposed cableway lies within the MDPWHS and is therefore of local, national as well as international interest and concern given that UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.
"The available proposal documents appear to have completely omitted wilderness in their conceptualization of the project and their calculations despite the fact that large areas of MDPWHS are designated as wilderness.
"The potential footprint of the development has not been adequately investigated, described or quantified and thus negative impacts cannot be assessed in terms of their ecological, socio-economic and cultural costs, as well as the impacts on wilderness.
"Consideration also needs to be given to alternative income-generation sources in the area, such as wilderness guiding and conserving the area as a wilderness area."
29 October 2013
African Conservation Trust's preliminary comments on the proposal by Carl Grossman
"The tourism statistics are highly questionable since many assumptions are made.
"The studies allude to the potential footprint but this has still not been quantified taking into account that, by the consultants own admission, a large amount of supporting infrastructure is required to try and create economic viability for the cableway and community beneficiation.
"Consultants confirmed that the cableway itself would provide only about 30 local jobs. Any other community beneficiation would need to rely on jobs from the creation of what is referred to as 'a Drakensberg village'. It is not clear what would happen to a displaced community who would need to give way to the creation of such a village. However it seems the Okhahlamba Municipality could benefit through a large number of jobs and rates.
"There is long-term commitment and enthusiasm of many community members with regard to conserving the natural scenic beauty of their areas.
"We know there is strong support for the development of a community wilderness area and nature reserve.
"The proposed cableway would invade the heart of the community de facto wilderness area in the Busingatha section.
"We also think that the cumulative environmental, cultural and social impacts of a cableway would be extremely detrimental, not only to the scenic beauty and biodiversity of the area and its value as a major source of water production for South Africa, but also to the societal fabric and culture of resident communities.
"It is unfortunate that despite the years of commitment by mountain communities to manage their natural and cultural resources in a sustainable manner, and their many achievements, their efforts have not been recognised in any of the studies."
29 October 2013
Final Draft Business Plan for the Development of a Drakensberg Cable Car by Graham Muller Associates
The draft business plan for the cableway as well as the associated tourism village which is to built at the base of it, prepared for the KZN DEDT.
"The Drakensberg Cableway is envisioned as a world-class tourism attraction in the Busingatha Valley, just south of Royal Natal National Park. It is envisaged that this will be a one of a kind attraction providing tourists of all ages and physical prowess the opportunity to ascend in comfort and safety close to the summit of Mount Amery where visitors will be able to enjoy (on most days) extensive vistas of the Drakensberg escarpment top and of the valleys below. On cloudy days, the vista will be generally be a spectacularly beautiful one of mountain peaks jutting out from a moving sea of white cloud filling the valleys below. The development will constitute a sensitively engineered balance between eco-tourism and conservation related facilities, top-class nature and cultural education interpretative centres, together with a wide range of recreational, hospitality and commercial services."
29 October 2013
Drakensberg Busingata Cableway, Updated Technical Description and Prefeasibility Study by Kuka Mining Losgistics
Technical description and cost estimate of the contruction of the cableway, and options for the cable car system, prepared for Graham Muller Associates in conjunction with the draft business plan.
"Based on the updated information received from Graham Muller Associates we were able to update the prefeasibility study in a very short time and intend with this document to present a cost estimate based on scenarios whereby all equipment and structures will be manufactured in Europe. It is anticipated that up to a 10% saving could be realised by manufacturing most of the steel structures for the stations and towers and some of the equipment in South Africa, which will be investigated during a baseline system design phase. This study was based on a peak demand capacity of between 400 and 500 persons per hour in each direction for the main cableway from Busingatha to Mount Amery."
20 September 2013
Feasibility Study for the Development of a Drakensberg Cable Car by Graham Muller Associates
The feasibility study prepared for the KZN DEDT, which deemed the proposal to be "technically feasible".
"This research report assesses the feasibility of developing a cableway* in the Drakensberg. In undertaking this research the study team reviewed all the relevant municipal and district planning literature, visited a short list of proposed sites, defined a market catchment for the proposed cableway and conducted market research into the demand and supply conditions for tourism attractions in the district. The team considered the weather conditions of the proposed sites and assessed the broad social, environmental and infrastructural characteristics for each alternative short-listed site. A preferred site was selected: This is in the Busingatha Valley just south of Royal Natal National Park. The site lies entirely within the province of KwaZulu-Natal on land owned by the Ingonyama Trust and is outside of the boundaries of the UKhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Site."
; 29 July 2013
Remarks by the MEC of the KZN DEDT on the occasion of the presentation of the feasibility study by Michael Mabuyakhulu
"When we first mooted the idea of developing a cable-car which would straddle the KwaZulu-Natal, the Free-State and Lesotho parts of the majestic Drakensberg mountain range, it was precisely our intention to further elevate the tourism potential of this area. Critically, we have always understood the fact that while we need to develop the economic potential of this area, we need to strike a delicate balance between environmental preservation and the potential economic fortunes that will accrue out of this project."
26 July 2013
White Elephants Shouldn't Roam The Berg by Vertical Endeavour
Media statement by Vertical Endeavour
"The idea of a cable car in the Drakensberg is not new. It has however recently received fresh impetus and media attention. Various locations for the project have been considered, in particular the Mnweni area situated in the Northern Drakensberg. As a group of concerned people who are very familiar with the Mnweni, and who cumulatively have been exploring the Drakensberg for many decades, we are concerned that this project will become a white elephant should it go ahead. We believe the idea is particularly unsuited to the Mnweni and that it is neither sustainable nor desirable in the Berg as a whole."
11 July 2013
KZN Tourism Master Plan - executive summary by KZN DEDT
The current cableway proposal must be understood in the context of the KZN Tourism Master Plan.
The plan presents the proposed development of key iconic projects aimed at increasing the geographical spread of tourism products and ensuring that KZN province continues to gain a competitive edge and remains the preferred destination. These recommended projects are: Drakensberg Cable Car, Breakwater/Monument/Statue, Bluff Bridge, King Shaka Statue, Isandlwana Development Precinct, Beach Resort and Convention Centre.
Also available as a presentation to cabinet.
approx. May 2013
Government Tender Bulletin Vol 563, No 2726 by National Treasury
The tender notice for the appointment of a service provider for the Development of a Feasibility Study and Business Plan for the Drakensberg Cable Car was released in this volume of the Government Tender Bulletin.
11 May 2012
Tender Notice by the Department of Basic Education
Tender notice for the appointment of a service provider for the Development of a Feasibility Study and Business Plan for the Drakensberg Cable Car
11 May 2012