Today, Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements Tertuis Simmers, officially handed over Sibanye Open Space and Play Area at the Sibanye Informal Settlement in Morreesburg.
Minister Simmers was accompanied by the Swartland Municipality Deputy Mayor and executive members from the NGO the Community Organisation Resource Centre (CORC).
This handovers was made possible through the partnership of Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, Swartland Municipality and the CORC, as well as the community leadership of Sibanye Informal Settlement.
CORC, who was appointed by the WCDoHS in 2018 to conduct skills training and capacity-building, community based planning and enumeration in the area, also solely funded the Play Park without tapping into the budget allocated by the department.
Minister Simmers said: “This play area demonstrates how the Western Cape Government is ensuring that our communities and particularly our children have access to safe recreational spaces where they can play to their hearts content. It helps to keep them out and away from danger, while also significantly improving the aesthetics of the community. Having spent just under R 11 million in 2019 to ensure that 165 sites are serviced and roads are tarred, shows how we’re working to ensure our people live and play in improved and safer conditions. This is part of our efforts to restore our people’s dignity. It’s pleasing to note how happy the children and the broader community is with their area and now the park.”
“As Swartland Municipality we are extremely grateful for the assistance of organisations such as CORC to make this project a reality. Working with various stakeholders from different spheres, makes it possible for us to realise and deliver much needed community orientated projects. This project is unique and exciting because of the active interest and role our residents had in the design thereof. I can see how proud our residents are of what has been built here. Partnerships like these allow us to do more for our residents. I want to urge our community members to please take ownership of this space and care for it. This belongs to you” said Executive Mayor Tijmen van Essen, Swartland Municipality.
One of the committee members was quite emotional at this launch as the ribbon was cut, Mr Mfundo Betana said: “when we started this enumeration project and engagements with government in 2018 we had a vision that one day our children will play in spaces where they’ll feel free and safe when they no longer have to walk far to access such. Today we are glad too see this has to come fruitions and would like to thank all those involved in making this possible not only for our community but most importantly our children, who are tomorrows’ leaders and we as the community we will do our level best in maintaining the up keep of the historical site”.
These sentiments were echoed by Moegshin Hendricks from Federation of Urban and Rural Poor and representative of CORC: “This park represents what we need to do in terms of building sustainable Human Settlements and thanks to all stakeholders and partners for their contribution and teamwork shown in building this play area”.
The Sibanye Informal Settlement is testament to the ideals promoted by the Informal Settlement Support Programme (ISSP), as it relates to all 3 of the Strategic Objectives:
1) Upgrade settlements through access to land, services, public infrastructure and incremental housing opportunities;
2) Enhanced quality of life and active citizenship; and
3) Strengthened sector capability, governance and resources.
“Today is proof of what can be achieved when the two spheres of government, the NGO sector and a very strong community leadership, work together towards accomplishing our dreams and goals. We will continue to work with various and relevant stakeholders whose aims are to see remarkable improvements in their communities,” concluded Simmers.