Delivering basic services to its citizens is a top priority for Mangaung Metro. The city, which is the only metropolitan municipality in the Free State, is made up of three main areas: Thaba Nchu, Botshabelo and Bloemfontein. Mangaung Mayor Thabo Manyoni said it has been the municipality’s priority to drive development and ensure that basic services are modernised and upgraded on a regular basis.
Decent homes for all
Since 2011, the municipality has provided housing to more than 69 000 people in more than 23 000 units. A further 144 126 people representing more than 48 000 families are now holders of site permits and title deeds, which is another achievement by the municipality. “The city has further provided over 16 000 families with access to own their sites through the formalisation of 19 informal settlements to date.
“An additional 595 social housing units accommodating 1 785 people will be completed by the end of the 2015/16 financial year. “Construction has started on community residential units in Dark City and Silver City, and 800 units providing shelter for 2 400 beneficiaries will be completed by May 2016.”
A city of potential investors
Mayor Manyoni added that the metro is being repositioned to attract potential investors to help with development projects taking place in the city. The city has also made major investments in developing the land around the airport. This has been termed the Airport Development Node and aims to ignite development in the corridor.
“This is our biggest project and we started by providing necessary infrastructure, such as the Naval Hill reservoir and the North Eastern Waste Water Treatment Plant. We currently have close to 250 new residential houses that have come up as a result of the N8 development around the airport, and a hospital is under construction.”
He added that the development of the Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu economic nodes are the city’s most important projects as they aim to address the wrongs of apartheid by bringing development and economic opportunities closer to the people.
“The city, working with provincial government, will invest about R40 million towards the development of the nodes. These will include the development of vibrant rural enterprises, the provision of mixed development initiatives, commercial facilities and recreational and social amenities. “The nodes will attract other investment to the region which will also address unemployment in the two areas.”
Other land development projects:
- Township establishment for Brandkop 702 – one of the land parcels for mixed housing development in the city, estimated to cost R16 million.
- Township establishment for Cecilia Park – one of the land parcels for mixed housing development in the city, at a cost of R20 million.
- Development of the Airport Development Node, a R97 million project.
- Development of a Long Haul Service Centre, a R35 million project.
“The development of these nodes is not only intended to ease an over-reliance on Bloemfontein as a commercial centre but also to bring renewal, development and economic opportunities to other regions of the municipality.” He added that the city will also invest R19.95 million in hawker stalls in the inner cities of Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu.
Good financial management
Mayor Manyoni said when he took office in 2011, the municipality’s finances were not in good order. “We can safely report that currently our cash and equivalents stand at R1.1 billion as compared to R246.4 million in 2011. This reflects growth of R855.8 million, which is three times more than previous cash balances. “Key to our performance as a city has been our ability over the past few financial years to have stabilised the financial position of the metro,” he said. The city has improved its audit opinion from a financial disclaimer and achieved an unqualified audit report for the 2013/14 financial year from Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu.
Access to water
Since 2011, the Mangaung Metro has provided about 219 000 households with basic water supply. “Approximately 159 000 households have been provided with a basic level of potable water above RDP standards. In addition, about 40 000 registered indigent households are provided with 10 kilolitres of free basic water. “In response to the current challenges facing the city with regard to inadequate bulk water storage, the city has designed a special programme aimed at increasing the capacity of its reservoirs and extending bulk water main lines to reach new areas.”
The project is expected to help unlock land developments such as the Airport corridor development, Cecilia Park and Vista Park. “We have committed to eradicating sanitation backlogs within six years and, in support of this, are committed to building seven new reservoirs. “Of these, two have already been completed at 45ML Longridge and 35ML Naval Hill respectively. Capacity at the Sterkwater Waste Water Treatment Works has been doubled from 10-million litres to 20-million litres. “The expanded capacity will accommodate new development in the city, such as Hillside View Development, Vista Park, Lourier Park and Rocklands.”
Developing the city’s youth
The city recently launched a youth economic development programme in partnership with ABSA. The programme, which has an initial intake of 3 000, aims to provide the unemployed youth with on-the-job training and development. “The focus of the programme will be on roads infrastructure maintenance, paving, electrical works, as well as information and communications technology. “Over R40 million was set aside for the programme for the 2014-15 financial year.”