Contractor for 13 displaced Wolwedans families in Mossel Bay appointed
The Western Cape Department of Infrastructure together with the Mossel Bay Municipality has appointed a contractor to build new homes for 13 displaced Wolwedans families. The contractor was appointed on Friday 12 May 2023.
The contractor will build new homes for the 13 families, who were relocated from the dangerous landslip-inclined area in Wolwedans, Great Brak River, in Mossel Bay. This follows landslip dangers that led the department to appoint service providers for Geotechnical studies.
The studies were to provide technical information and report on the landslip problem, make visual assessments, and develop remedial solutions to address the landslip problems. However, floods in November 2021 negatively affected the Wolwedans area which lead to 13 houses being declared unsafe and needing to be evacuated.
Following a joint visit by the Provincial Minister, Tertuis Simmers, and National Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi, in January 2022, Zutari Consulting Engineers was appointed to conduct further studies and produced a preliminary report. The report reaffirmed that the 13 families needed to be relocated to safer grounds. It further concluded that:
- The slope failure was most likely triggered by water seeping into the slope following the period of high rainfall.
- The shear strength of the materials was likely to be at resultant values which would result in a reduced factor of safety (FoS) for slope stability.
- Due to the extent of the movement and size of the failure zone, it would be uneconomical to successfully rehabilitate the area to allow residential development.
The slope failure in the undeveloped area is seen in the area’s naturally unstable slope conditions. It, therefore, determined that the structures in and adjacent to the failure area are or will be unsafe and should be demolished.
The 13 families were temporarily relocated to Temporary Relocation Accommodation (TRA) units. While 8 families moved into the TRAs the other 5 moved into extended family members’ premises.
The 13 new homes will be built on a site that is part of the human settlements’ branch Upgrading of Informal Settlements Programme (UISP) within the Greater Mossel Bay area. The land is earmarked to address 23 informal settlements including Wolwedans. Construction of bulk services will begin soon.
Provincial Minister Tertuis Simmers said: “Catering for the safety and well-being of our communities is a priority for the Western Cape Government. Therefore, it was essential for the different spheres of government to collaborate and prioritise finding solutions that are safer and will be welcomed by the community while including all stakeholders. I am grateful that we were able to find a solution and avert the worst from happening. The contractor, will establish the site and we anticipate construction to commence soon thereafter.”
Apart from the building of the 13 new houses, the department allocated R21.5 million for the remedial work in the affected area.