SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

25 January 2013

South Africa: Mthatha Revitalisation Projects Underway

Pretoria — The Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane says he is satisfied with the progress being made in a number of key projects in the Mthatha area, saying this is an indication that people are hard at work to deliver on the mandate provided by President Jacob Zuma.

"We are encouraged with the work that is being done. However, we have noted that there are challenges in a number of areas which officials are working very hard to address. We will continue to work together with the province and the municipality to complete all outstanding work," said Chabane.

He was in the city on Friday to check on progress in Presidential Projects in the King Sabatha Dalindyebo Municipality

Umthatha was declared a Rapid High Impact Presidential Intervention Node in 2009.

The intervention was intended to address infrastructure backlogs and service delivery challenges and fully revitalise Mthatha through projects such as the Mthatha airport, roads, water, sanitation and electricity projects.

During his visit, Chabane noted some progress> Key among them are that 41% of the planned roads projects such as the Ultra City to Viedgesville, Airport to Madeira, Jubilee Square, Ultra City to Mthatha River and Ugie to Langeni have been completed.

According to the Presidency, about 59 percent of the roads projects are nearing completion, varying from 70 percent to 98 percent complete in terms of project status.

The airport development completed projects include the expansion of the parking space and upgrading of aprons while the project on the extension of the runway is almost complete.

The Mthatha N2 Bridge is now 71 percent complete and will be operational to road users by April 2013. The construction of bridge and road from Mbhashe to Mvezo is 70% complete.

However, Chabane noted that the Mthatha inner city roads are in an unacceptable state and has mandated the Director General for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency to work with provincial officials to immediately develop a plan to address challenges with these roads.

Work has also commenced on the upgrading of informal settlements in Joe Slovo, Chris Hani, Mandela Park and Phola Park.

"On the upgrade of Ngangelizwe informal settlement, funding for an alternative building technology pilot project has been approved. Construction of multipurpose centres in Mqanduli and Ngangelizwe are at 98% completion," said the Presidency.

On water and sanitation - whose projects include the upgrade of the Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) in Mthatha; the water-borne sewerage system in Mqanduli and bulk water infrastructure in Mthatha, Mqanduli, and Coffee Bay - tenders have been awarded and work commenced.

Inroads were also made with regards to social development, whose projects include the building of clinics, houses for professionals, primary health care services and centres for older and disabled persons, among others.

The upgrade of the Ngangelizwe clinic is one of those completed projects that had been identified, which represents R24 million out of a total of R132 million budgeted.

On governance, 30 percent of projects have been reported as completed and 70% are at implementation stage.

"Various projects to facilitate enhanced governance and financial management in the KSD Municipality have been completed. The Internal Audit Committee and Public Accounts Committee have been established," said the Presidency.

On environment and waste management, the rehabilitation of old waste sites projects in Mqanduli and Mthatha was completed in February 2012. The construction of the Mthatha Dam tourism centre has been completed and furniture for the conference centre delivered. The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has approved

The Industrial Development Strategy is 99 percent complete and is awaiting adoption by the Mayoral Committee before it can be published.

Projects identified to support local economic development include the Kei Fresh Produce, the Mqanduli Milling Plant, the Ngangelizwe Transido Small Business Hub, Wool Clip & Processing, Langeni Timber Cluster Development and the Vulindlela Heights Industrial Zone / Logistics Hub.

Progress was also noted provision of electricity which covers Mthatha CBD, and urban areas such Sidwadwa, Ilitha, Zimbane, Payne Farm, Coffee Bay, and Mqanduli.

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