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E Cape alive with activity

Written by Chris Bathembu
Visitors to the Eastern Cape within the last two years would be forgiven for mistaking some parts as resembling an ongoing construction site.

Truth is, some areas have been abuzz with activity since government set its sights on improving conditions in that province two years ago.

Multi-million projects

Government's commitment to uplift conditions in areas such as Mthatha, a town that was once the economic hub of the former Transkei, was seen during a recent visit by a Presidential Monitoring and Evaluation delegation.

President Jacob Zuma and a senior delegation were in town to assess the level of progress that had been made since government last visited in August 2009. To deal with infrastructure backlogs and service-delivery challenges in the King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) District Municipality, uMthatha was declared a Rapid High Impact Presidential Intervention Node.

Six major multi-million rand intervention projects were identified in line with this that would see the renewal of the area to its former stature.

The President's busy two-day schedule this time included visiting the automotive sector in Port Elizabeth where the focus was on job creation and economic growth. Government sees the sector as important in its plans to create five million jobs in the next 10 years.

In the President's previous interaction, community members in the KSD Municipality expressed their frustration over not having access to basic services and poor local government management and systems.

These days, much activity can be seen in the once forlorn KSD. Intervention projects underway there will see the provision of water in the area, sanitation, electricity, roads, human settlements and the development of the local Mthatha Airport.

Water supply scheme

The R54 million Mthatha Water Supply Scheme has been completed, which saw more than 80 jobs being created during its construction.

In the Coffee Bay area, the construction of Phase One of the Regional Water Supply Scheme cost government R53 million and created 508 jobs.

Sanitation has been given high priority in KSD, with the refurbishment of sewer pump stations at a cost of R24 million and the refurbishment of the Mthatha Sewer Treatment Works at a cost of R25 million.

President Zuma and his delegation also visited one of the two completed road projects in KSD. It involves the section of the N2 that passes through the Mthatha Ultra City to Nelson Mandela Drive to Mthatha Bridge. During the construction of this road project, a total of 79 jobs were created.

To add to the hive of activity in the province, workers have been busy on the Informal Settlements Upgrade Programme being undertaken at a cost of R586 million. It will make a difference in the lives of people living in the Joe Slovo, Chris Hani and Mandela Park areas, where 3 350 units will be built.

Temporary services

Phase One of this project will see the provision of temporary services and planning for 6 600 housing units.

In Phola Park, the Informal Settlement Upgrade Programme will replace the present informal structures with 1 400 units while at Ngangelizwe Township a further 1 850 units will be built to replace informal structures.