Minister Simmers engages Qolweni community leaders on Bitou housing concerns
Today, Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers met and engaged with the leadership of the Qolweni community about issues around the Qolweni/Bossiesgif housing development. The New Horizon community leaders also joined the engagement.
This engagement occurred, after the Bitou Municipality persisted to mislead its residents about the status of the project, and that the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements is the reason for the delay in the implementation of this project.
Minister Simmers said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Qolweni and New Horizon community leadership for their robust and frank engagement.
It is unfortunate that we constantly have to set the record straight about this housing project. We could however not allow misinformation to continue in this area, and therefore today I reiterated that the allocation of R 12,4 million for the construction of the first 85 units, of the 169, to be completed by 31 March 2021, which is in line with the evaluation report submitted by the Municipality, still stands.
I also took today’s engagement to once again state that should the Bitou Municipality not be in a position to ensure the completion of these units by the end of March 2021, they should immediately inform my officials, so that technical assistance can be provided.
I further stated that the construction of the balance of 84, will commence in the 21/22 financial year. Overall, the 169 units have an allocation of R 25 million. I am pleased that the construction of the 164 Transitional Residential Units (TRU’s) were all completed by 30 September 2020 at a cost of R 6 million. I am however deeply concerned that thus far only 35 TRU’s have been electrified. I was informed by the Bitou Municipality that the reason for the electrification delay was the recent protest in the area.
I therefore requested that the community refrain from further delaying the electrification of these units and also made a further call to the community to instead of closing the N2 whenever they have concerns, to rather use public meeting platforms to raise their issues. We trust that after today, the electrification process would recommence and be concluded speedily, so that the beneficiaries who have been waiting to live in improved conditions can swiftly do so.
I’ll be returning to the are in November to provide update about both the Qolweni and Ebenhezer projects.
As, the human settlements portfolio is a concurrent function, and therefore vital that prolific intergovernmental relations between province and local authorities exist, with the involvement of communities, I urge all stakeholders to ensure that the process continues smoothly so that our people can optimally benefit.
Now that the facts have been tabled, I trust that there will be no further attempts to derail this process, as we’ve had unnecessary delays in the implementation of this project. We have an opportunity to bridge any gap that might exist, and this should be utilised effectively.
As the Western Cape Government, we remain committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.