Construction halted at KZN reserve

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Construction work at the large “big five” Mayibuye Game Reserve between Durban and Camperdown has halted as some locals have broken down fences, destroyed equipment, and threatened workers.

In an urgent application, the Pietermaritzburg High Court was told on Friday that the damages threatened a national eco-tourism flagship project created by the private sector together with the community.

The reserve is to be 4783ha in extent.

Incidents of damage and threats to workers have caused work stoppages on the last 20km of game fencing, due to be completed by the end of March, and game introduced in April.

Damage to about 5km of fencing caused a loss of about R750,000.

The game fencing costs about R100,000/km.

Developer David Bozas, head of Panish Investments, which promotes the reserve, said the registered office of Mayibuye was the upmarket Thula Thula Game Reserve in Zululand.

He said he helped the late Lawrence Anthony, who gained world-wide acclaim for rescuing ill-treated large animals confined in tiny cages in the Middle-East and Africa, develop Thula Thula.

Acting Judge Piet Bezuidenhout ordered that locals stop interfering with the reserve’s construction. The ruling was extended to March 31 for respondents to file opposing papers.

Bozas said community leaders and heads of households had been consulted and they had agreed to the reserve which would benefit the community.

Some of the objections were that the people could not visit the burial grounds of their fathers but Bozas said that was not a valid complaint because no one had been refused leave to go there.

Another complaint was that the reserve would prevent locals hunting but Bozas said hunting there was illegal.

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