Claims of racial tensions as Hartbeespoort Dam development grows

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The Hartbeespoort Dam has recently attracted a number of people from previously disadvantaged communities to set up businesses along its shores. But some say this has evoked racist tendencies from sections of the white community in the area.

The Hartbeespoort Dam has been described as an important economic hub for the North West Province. But some resort owners who’ve set up businesses on the Dam’s shores claim that certain members of the white community are opposed to their establishments.

An organisation representing them says it has been fighting a longstanding, quiet battle with those who are against their businesses.

“We now also want to occupy government land but comply with the processes. They do evaluation and we pay the market value and they have not been paying the market value so we want to have equal access to the dam business or the dam economy of the Hartebeespoort dam,” says business owner Hartley Ngoato.

Some running businesses on the shoreline say the concern relates to safety issues.

Kosmos Marina club chairperson Derek Hayden says, “The main concern is about the safety of those using the boats in the water because people can’t be driving their boats whilst under the influence of alcohol and that the boats must not be operated after 6 pm, these are rules and regulations which unfortunately are not complied with fully.”

The Water and Sanitation Ministry says the Dam must benefit all. Minister Senzo Mchunu says, “Hartbeespoort dam is a national asset in the North West in Madibeng therefore, we must reflect that in terms of the benefits in terms of access by all these people and it must impact everybody’s life.”

Mchunu led the dam’s centenary celebrations on Monday, saying the department is tackling the challenges it’s facing.