Nelson Mandela Bay invests R100-million in former Ibhayi area

JUNE 22, 2016

Challenges around access for emergency services, SAPS vehicles and wheelchair-bound people in the former Ibhayi area (New Brighton, KwaZakhele, Zwide, Veeplas and Soweto-on-Sea) will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the R100-million investment by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in the tarring of roads, paving of sidewalks and improvements to the stormwater drainage system in these areas.

Nomfundo Ngcingane (56) who lives in Tsewu Street in New Brighton, could not hide her excitement about the improvements being effected in her street, Tsewu Street, which is one of the street under reconstruction.

"This reconstruction of our street will change the picture of this area. It will not only improve access, it will also add to the value of our properties," said Ngcingane.

She said: "Raining or not, we will be able to walk freely in a paved street. We used to experience a lot of flooding when heavy rains came. We have been told that stormwater drainage will also form part of the work that will be done. Thank you to the Municipality".

Another resident of New Brighton, Lindile Kinzela, who also benefited from the project through employment, confirmed that the project was a boost for him and his family.

"Our street will not only be reconstructed, but for the duration of the project I will be able to provide for my family," said Lindile Kinzela.

Kinzela added that the improved roads would aid many aspects of service delivery. "When we have good roads, we talk about easy access for physically challenged and wheelchair bound residents; we talk about easy and quick access for emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks to our area; and we also talk about easy and quick access for police when they attend to criminal incidents that might endanger people's lives," said Kinzela.

"This is appreciated by the residents of the areas affected. This is truly service delivery in action."

The project is currently in progress in different areas and in different phases, not only benefiting the residents of these areas, but also empowering emerging businesses (SMMEs), who are an integral part of the delivery of this project.

An SMME owner, Lumnka Speelman (41), who co-owns Speelman Mtika Construction Company, is one of those that have benefited as a sub-contractor from one of the road construction projects in Kwazakhele Seyisi, in an area called Maqanda.

She said: "It was the first project I have ever received from the Municipality. This opportunity has given me a lot of experience, more especially as a female construction company owner.

“We used to be ignored in the construction industry, but things have now improved. This project will not only benefit my company financially, but the experience I will obtain will position my company better to bid for more projects, bigger than this one," said Speelman.

More than 50 kilometres of road construction will be done in the area. The work that will be done, will include informal settlement areas like Qaqawuli and MK Silvertown. Work to be done in informal areas like these, will be in preparation for the formal housing construction that will be undertaken later this year.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's Mayoral Committee Member for Infrastructure and Engineering, Cillr Andile Mfunda, said: "This investment is not a coincidence, it is a clear indication of our commitment to improve the lives of those that were previously disadvantaged by the then apartheid government.

“We all know that the then government put in place poor and low quality infrastructure in the former Ibhayi areas. We want to reverse that injustice. It will not be easy, as we will need a lot of money to do that, but the commitment is there and action speaks louder than words”.