Qunu City is a ‘cash sinkhole’
The vision to develop Nelson Mandela’s hometown, the village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, into a state-of-the-art city, has faded, five years after the project was initiated by the provincial department of human settlements.
According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), the project has cost taxpayers millions of rands and there is nothing to show for it.
DA member of the provincial legislature Sanele Magaqa said the project was initiated in 2012 by the then human settlements MEC Helen Sauls-August.
Magaqa said the aim of the project had been to create “an international special purpose city” based on the theme A Reflection on Humanity.
“Qunu City was going to be the first modern city built by the ANC government to honour Mandela’s legacy and increase economic activity in the area.
“The plan was to see Qunu’s grazing land become a buzzing city with hotels, banks, tourism accommodation facilities, an international leadership college and conferencing facilities.”
Five years later, Magaqa said tens of millions of rands had been spent on consultants, but the project had been scrapped as it “became evident that there was no possible hope of it ever reaching fruition”.
During a parliamentary committee meeting on human settlements in the provincial legislature this week, it was revealed that more than R46 million had been allocated to the project since 2013, he said.
“With an estimated cost in the billions, those in favour of the project said donors and investors would assist. However, when questioned about the investments received, the department admitted there was no information of funds raised through donations.”
Mgaqa said other concerns were the lack of buy-in from other departments, resulting in human settlements bearing the financial burden alone.
He said the department had not produced a feasibility report, despite over R4.8 million having been paid for it. – ANA