MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT for Matopo North constituency Never Khanye plans to take over Big Cave Camp which is situated 48km from Bulawayo amid resistance from villagers and traditional leaders.
BY BENSON DUBE
Big Cave Camp is owned by Dave Waddy who works with the community and reportedly employs 99% labour from the locality.
The management at the camp received a letter from the MP stating that by May 11 they should have vacated the site.
Traditional chiefs in the area are against the takeover of the camp saying it is one of the sources of employment for youth in the community since Bulawayo industries keep closing down.
They feared the takeover would force children in the community to go to South Africa where xenophobic attacks have been fanned of late.
Chiefs confirmed the camp recently built a maternity ward at Nathisa Clinic and constructed blocks of Lower and Upper Six classrooms.
The camp runs a project called Tree of Life where it pays school fees and other expenses for 30 students at White Waters High School in Nathisa.
Villagers said Khanye came as a land seeker from Binga and was allocated a plot after Red Wood along Plumtree Road and later became an MP.
Traditional leader of the affected area Chief Malaki Masuku said it was not a good idea for an MP to take over the lodge as it employed localsand gave a lot of assistance to the locality. He hinted that Khanye probably coveted the infrastructure at the camp.
He also said this was notwhat the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo wanted and Khanye would not be able to pull tourists into the country like the incumbents.
“Our children have the sanctuary as the last source of employment, once they are deprived of it they will be forced to cross the border and be killed by xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
The late vice-president said people should stay together.
Khanye will not be able to bring in tourists in the country.
Khanye is merely after the good infrastructure at the camp,” Masuku lamented.
A villager Simangaliso Khoza said Khanye must copy the idea and develop the area by applying the plan at his farm along Plumtree Road.
“Khanye must instead apply what he sees at the camp and develop our place by setting up similar structures at his farm where he was resettled from Binga.
Khanye was given a job to be an honourable member of Parliament for this community, but now wants to render our children jobless.
The camp employe 99% of its staff from the local community and it is us who built the camp.” Khoza said.
Another villager who did not want to be identified for security reasons, said Khanye once worked at a neighbouring lodge and was trying everything to frustrate the successful running of the sanctuary so that it would fail and he would take over.
He said Khanye had been a tour guide for few months before he was fired.
Efforts to get comment from Khanye were fruitless.