The days of street flooding, poor sanitation and potholes on roads in Missionvale, Port Elizabeth, will soon be a thing of the past. About 2 500 homes in the area will be connected with sanitation and water services by the end of April.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will spend R50 million on upgrading bulk storm water infrastructure, sanitation and civil services.
The area has a relatively flat terrain and is surrounded by salt pans and a high ground water table. During heavy rain the community of Missionvale experience challenges around flooding and poor access for cars and public transport.
“The area used to be an informal settlement and residents had to rely on themselves for services. Electricity has been laid on for them, with water services provided through stand pipes which are located approximately 200 meters from each household,” explained Chairperson of the Infrastructure and Engineering Portfolio at the municipality Councillor Andile Mfunda.
“The work concerning sanitation and water services is in the final stages of completion,” added Mfunda.
He said small business has also benefitted from the upgrade undertaken by the municipality.
“The municipality did not focus only on the delivery of these services to the people of Missionvale, but also providing support to emerging contractors has also been key.”
During the upgrade about 25 Small Medium Micro Enterprises (SMME) contractors benefited, while 98 people from the community of Missionvale were employed in different capacities.
The upgrade is divided into five phases all of which will see the building of sanitation infrastructure, water services, storm water, a pump station and a road.
Thozama Qayiso (51), a resident of Missionvale, said the community will have proper services like other people in other areas.
“We can now proudly say we are part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, because we will now also be enjoying the services that are enjoyed in other areas."
She added that seeing the leadership from the municipality in their area gave them hope.
"For leadership to come here and make commitments, when we already see work happening on the ground, is encouraging.
“It actually tells us as a community that the politicians that we have put into power do not only throw money at things and leave, they follow up to make sure that quality work is done, within the stipulated timeframes."
Mfunda added that the municipality would continue to work with the community to improve service delivery.
“I am also pleased that the community of Missionvale is working with the municipality to fast-track service delivery. Gone are the days when officials did as they pleased.
“Accountability is key for us to be able to deliver on our mandate. I have given them strict deadlines, because the issues in Missionvale are long overdue. Our people have suffered enough."
As part of the economic development of the area and its surrounds a shopping mall with retail stores was officially opened last year, creating a number of job opportunities for the people of the area.
"When we deliver services it has to be an integrated development so that we can achieve the true human settlements as prescribed by the Human Settlements Policy. Gone are the days when we build houses for people away from economic activity, schools and other amenities," he said.
The municipality is also working on providing electricity to informal settlements, on serviced sites, while the people wait for their houses.