Housing was in the spotlight yesterday, specifically what Bitou Municipality is doing about informal settlements across its territory.
This was sparked by a visit from the deputy minister of human settlements, Zoe Kota-Fredericks, who was in town on 17 March to talk to councillors and officials.
Meeting Kota-Fredericks at the Council Chamber were Executive Mayor Lulama Mvimbi; Deputy Mayor Monica Seyisi; councillors Miriam Tanda, Veronica Terblanche and Doris Xego; the director in administration, Thomas Nqolo; the head of municipal infrastructure and municipal services, Pumla Ngqumshe; the head of corporate services, Carl Mattheus; and the head of community services, Monde Stratu.
Stratu gave a brief presentation to the deputy minister on various human settlement projects that the municipality, together with his department, would be embarking on in 2011.
He highlighted the achievements of the local department of human settlements, pointing out that about 265 units had been completed at Qolweni/Bossiesgif/ Pinetreegatjie in early 2010. The municipality was also busy building 52 high density units in a one-of-its-kind project in Western Cape.
Stratu also said Bitou had received that day confirmation of a resolution by the provincial department of human settlements to build 460 additional units in Palesland, “a very encouraging development indeed”.
During his presentation, he mentioned that Bitou Municipality had repaired more than 655 units over the past three years and was planning to build 200 units at the old sports field site in Greenvalley. He did admit, however, that a lot had to be done on the field to get the project going.
Kota-Fredericks was also briefed about progress in Kwanokuthula, Kranshoek and Kurland. The municipality was also buying about 36 hectares of land for R28-million, for the expansion of New Horizons. This news impressed everyone present.
Stratu concluded his presentation by mentioning some of the challenges faced by his department and the municipality, one of the major challenges being budget allocations. These were always minimal, insufficient grant allocations compared with the level of demand.
“Eradication of informal settlements will go a long way in changing the situation but at all times Bitou Municipality will work hard to ensure that informal settlements are eradicated by 2014,” he said.
After listening to Stratu’s presentation, Kota-Fredericks was clearly impressed with Bitou Municipality and the houses it had built. “I am very happy with the presentation and it looks like Bitou knows what they want and when they want it,” she said.Last published 30 March 2016