6 June 2008
Dubai-based Ruwaad Holdings is conducting a viability study into building an internationally branded entertainment theme park and residential complex in the Macambini area on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, at a cost of US$2.5-billion (about R19.6-billion).
“Following the signing of the memorandum of understanding, the investor dispatched a technical team to KwaZulu-Natal to conduct a project viability assessment,” KwaZulu-Natal Premier Xibusiso Ndebele told the media at Macambini this week.
“Earlier this year, I travelled to Dubai with an extended government delegation which included the Ilembe district mayor as well as the Mandeni local municipality mayor to meet the investor.”
A statement by the provincial government states that the group intends to develop an internationally branded entertainment theme park that will be complemented by numerous facilities focusing on residential, hospitality, leisure, medical, education, sport, health and retail.
Ndebele said the investment, which had the full support of the provincial Cabinet, would see the development of 16 556 hectares of land to the north of the uThukela River, leading to the creation of 16 000 permanent jobs and a further 32 000 temporary jobs over the short-term.
Ruwaad Holdings chief executive Hayan Merchant emphasised that the group’s aim was to develop a uniquely African, world-class destination that has local, regional, national, continental and international appeal.
As such, the group is planning a cultural and historical focus for the development, centred on a huge statue of King Shaka.
“The proposed development will strengthen the north coast priority corridor between Durban and Richards Bay and act as a catalyst for further economic growth and job creation in surrounding areas,” he said.
It is also envisaged that the development will bring about the improvement of infrastructure and services in the area, strengthening the local economy and stimulating increased investment across various industrial and commercial sectors.
Ruwaad is a subsidiary of the listed Dubai 9 group, a real estate, hospitality, tourism investment and development company that focuses on creating world class destinations, initially in the Middle East, Australia, Africa and Asia with a strong emphasis on entertainment, hospitality, business and residential and leisure lifestyle.
The group has lucrative strategic alliances with organisations such as Paramount Pictures and Palazzo Versace.
Should the company decide to take on the investment, the complex will be implemented in a series of stages with the first stage, the theme park, expected to be complete in 2012.
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