Qolweni sod-turning is the start of improved living conditions
Today, Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers conducted a sod-turning to officially launch the Qolweni 169 Phase 3A Project in the Plettenberg Bay community.
This project, which has a budget allocation of R 33,5 million excluding professional fees, was approved in October 2019. Construction of the 169 units had to commence in January 2021. Due to various challenges between the Bitou Municipality, the contractor appointed by them, and community dynamics, this could not occur.
After numerous community protests, the Bitou Municipality handed the project over to the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (WCDoHS) on 18 June 2021. Regrettably, the WCDoHS could not immediately commence with the project, as the contractor that was appointed by the municipality threatened the Provincial Department with legal action and an interdict, should the WCDoHS start with the project.
Minister Simmers said: “Today’s sod-turning is an exciting moment for the people of Qolweni. Now the most vulnerable, particularly the elderly and those living with medically certified disabilities, will have an opportunity to live in improved and safer conditions. This is only the start of our commitment we made to the community in June when this project was handed over to us. The entire Plettenberg Bay can undoubtedly celebrate this joyous occasion.
I call on all stakeholders to ensure that there are no further hindrances or delays in this project. As the provincial and local sphere of government we’re working together and trust that the community will fully participate in this development. This is particularly important in the protection and safeguarding of the site and all materials. Since taking the project over, we’ve had regular and transparent engagements with all stakeholders. We therefore call for dialogue, should any issue for any reason arise.”
This project is expected to be concluded towards the end of 2022.
“As the Western Cape Government we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, safe, resilient and sustainable human settlements in an open society,” added Simmers.