Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality forced to expropriate land for R286 mil project

MARCH 3, 2015

In a post on a local blog, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Monday said that it is now forced to expropriate two erven – its last trump card – to overcome the drawn out stalemate to acquire land for its R286 million Njoli Square Re-development, a project aimed as an economic boost for Kwazakhele and surrounds.

“During a sitting of its full council last week, recommendations were approved that the City Manager, Mr Mpilo Mbambisa, establish a team of officials to facilitate the expropriation of erven 3024 and 4353 as a matter of urgency to conclude the land acquisition process that started as far back as 2008,” the municipality said.

“Contrary to human rights abuses and dispossession during expropriation prior to 1994 by the Apartheid government, current day expropriation means the payment of market related prices determined by an independent valuer allowing the land owners to appropriately benefit from the transaction.”

The municipality said that the proposed development affects 75 private properties of which agreements are in place for 73 – a total of 71 are already signed and sealed – whilst only two properties are still outstanding.

It said a team approved by Council is already intensively involved in the project that will change the face of Kwazakhele for the better and act as a catalyst for further investment in the area.

When completed, the project will have:

  • A civic centre, supported by public transport and formal and informal commercial facilities will be established in the heart of one of the oldest suburbs in Port Elizabeth.
  • Community facilities and municipal functions will be accessible in the heart of the township. One of the key components of the development is a state of the art library and research centre. It will be available for use by students and scholars.
  • It creates a major Integrated Public Transport System (one of the key systems in Nelson Mandela Bay) within a mixed-used development corridor and supports the long-term public transport strategy of the city.
  • It will contribute towards the creation of a dignified space within a previously marginalised community.
  • During construction of the public facilities it is estimated that approximately 2 000 jobs will be created;
  • After construction of the public facilities, approximately 200 permanent jobs will be created. In addition to this, the new facility will house approximately 200 informal traders, as well as the entire public transport fraternity operating to and from Njoli Square; and,
  • The proposed development will also act as an SMME development hub – therefore, through training and mentoring, many jobs will be created outside of this development.