The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube used the opening day of the Uthukela District’s Growth and Development Summit in Ladysmith to throw her department’s support behind the ambitious Drakensberg Cable Car project earmarked for the region by the provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
“The objective of this summit is to tap into the economic potential of the Uthukela District and identify the factors that are advancing local economic development in this region. In this context, the proposed cable car is just what the Uthukela District needs,” said Dube.
The two-day Growth and Development Summit is convening in Ladysmith to explore the economic potential of the Uthukela District and find innovative ways in which the district and the local municipalities that make it up can further this goal in co-operation with the residents, businesses and the provincial government.
“The Uthukela District’s draw card is its proximity to the Drakensberg and the tourism potential that comes with this. Last year no fewer than 135,000 tourists visited the Northern Berg and a further 41,000 tourists visited the Golden Gate National Park near the Drakensberg. These numbers clearly prove the feasibility of the cable car project,” said Dube.
The feasibility study for the Drakensberg Cable Car project was officially unveiled by the Dube’s cabinet colleague MEC for Department of Economic Development Michael Mabuyakhulu in July. Mabuyakhulu has cited numerous examples from around the globe where cable cars have been hailed for attracting tourists and bolstering local economy.
The Uthukela District’s Growth and Development Summit, where COGTA is a participant, will also highlight the department’s Small Town Rehabilitation Programme, the importance of market research in municipal planning, and the contribution of informal traders to local economic development alongside established businesses.