Metro pledges R100m to­wards bulk in­fras­truc­ture for hous­ing devel­op­ment

● Mu­nic­i­pal­ity pledges R100m to­wards bulk in­fras­truc­ture for R10bn hous­ing devel­op­ment

The Herald (South Africa) - - Front Page - No­maz­ima Nkosi [email protected]­soblack­star.co.za

The Nel­son Man­dela Bay mu­nic­i­pal­ity has thrown its weight be­hind the R10bn Florida Heights hous­ing devel­op­ment project, pledg­ing R100m to­ward bulk in­fras­truc­ture.

A sod-turn­ing event was held at the site, on the out­skirts of Des­patch, on Wed­nes­day.

The project was not in­cluded in the city’s 2018/2019 bud­get.

Mayor Mongameli Bobani said the project, to be de­vel­oped by Sakhi­sizwe Re­new­able En­ergy, would cre­ate 11,000 jobs in the metro.

It is not yet clear when the project will get off the ground as a record of de­ci­sion be­tween the de­vel­oper and the de­part­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs is still out­stand­ing.

Bobani said the metro would put up the bulk in­fras­truc­ture for the “cat­alytic” project and it would re­sult in jobs for thou­sands, and op­por­tu­ni­ties for small busi­ness own­ers.

“R100m is a tip of the ice­berg in a project that would em­ploy 11,000 peo­ple from your com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

“We can be able to ex­plain to our tax­pay­ers that we love [that] this is what your money is do­ing and the rev­enue that this project is go­ing to cre­ate is R400m.

“Ratepay­ers want value for their money and all they want is for their money to be in good hands.”

He said the devel­op­ment would speed up hous­ing de­liv­ery, con­sid­er­ing the city had an 80,000 hous­ing back­log.

“Our quest is to re­turn to our peo­ple their cher­ished dig­nity. We have to speed up ser­vice de­liv­ery with ex­treme ur­gency.

“Our peo­ple are liv­ing in shacks, our peo­ple don’t have toi­lets, they re­lieve them­selves in these bushes and they don’t have wa­ter.”

He said the project would help black women SMMEs and black com­pa­nies to be play­ers in the main­stream econ­omy.

The ob­jec­tive of the new coali­tion was deal­ing with rad­i­cal spa­cial trans­for­ma­tion through in­te­grated devel­op­ment plan­ning by em­pow­er­ing pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties, he said.

Phase one would house more than 1,000 fam­i­lies and was ex­pected to be com­pleted in five years.

On pa­per, phase two – which would take at least 15 years to com­plete – would in­clude a fur­ther 12,030 res­i­den­tial op­por­tu­ni­ties.

De­vel­oper William Charles, owner of Sakhi­sizwe Re­new­able En­ergy, said he had been part of the con­sor­tium that did the orig­i­nal Ngqura har­bour.

He said the new project had gone through a rig­or­ous process and due dili­gence was ap­proved by the de­part­ment of hu­man set­tle­ments and the Na­tional Trea­sury in 2016.

En­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues for phase one had caused de­lays for the project that was meant to have bro­ken ground a year ago.

“There was a record of de­ci­sion here but we have re­con­fig­ured the project to al­low for den­si­fi­ca­tion so there can be more peo­ple here.

“We are fi­nal­is­ing that process through do­ing a ba­sic as­sess­ment to make sure noth­ing changes from the orig­i­nal ROD [record of de­ci­sion] is­sued.”

The Mu­nic­i­pal Fi­nance Man­age­ment Act says be­fore a mu­nic­i­pal­ity can en­ter into an agree­ment with a pri­vate busi­ness:

● A fea­si­bil­ity study needs to be done;

● Two months be­fore the mat­ter is taken to coun­cil for ap­proval, it has to be made avail­able for pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion;

● The re­port must ex­plain the fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity; and ● In­put must be ob­tained from the Trea­sury and var­i­ous other na­tional de­part­ments.

Asked why the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was fund­ing a pri­vately owned devel­op­ment and if the metro had any guar­an­tees in place to en­sure that devel­op­ment would take place, Bobani said the R100m was value for money as it would cre­ate jobs.

“It’s go­ing to cre­ate 11,000 jobs. What more do you want? It’s a huge in­vest­ment and it’s not money wasted.

“I’m not sure which guar­an­tees you are look­ing for, but I can be able to say the project is guar­an­teed, it is go­ing to take place.

“We are here right now, and when we come back next year we’ll be able to see the devel­op­ment tak­ing place.

“This project is hav­ing the nod from the na­tional govern­ment and is one of Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s stim­u­lus projects.

“We had meet­ings with the prov­ince and they are in full sup­port of the project.

“This was ap­proved in the hu­man set­tle­ments com­mit­tee and in coun­cil.

“You can’t do a sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony, with­out the project be­ing ap­proved.

“By whom? This project has been ap­proved by the na­tional de­part­ment of hu­man set­tle­ment, prov­ince, coun­cil and the pres­i­dent,” Bobani said.

‘Our quest is to re­turn to our peo­ple their cher­ished dig­nity’ Mongameli Bobani

NEL­SON MAN­DELA BAY MAYOR

Pic­ture:FREDLIN ADRI­AAN

GET­TING STARTED: Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani, sec­ond from right, does the honours at the Florida Heights sod-turn­ing cer­e­mony. With him, from left, are Pearl Ezeike, the Rev Hen­der­son Bisiwe, William Charles and Andile Mfunda

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