Ricochet News

Millions invested into transforming Port Elizabeth's notorious Sanlam building

MAY 22, 2017
Millions invested into transforming Port Elizabeth's notorious Sanlam building

Eastern Cape MEC for Human Settlements, Helen Sauls-August, on Monday announced an investment worth millions of rands to refurbish the old Sanlam building into a thriving social housing project in Port Elizabeth. 

The Sanlam building is notorious as the site where black consciousness leader, Steve Biko, was tortured by the then apartheid police in 1977.

"An amount of R68 million has been invested by both Provincial and National Government on the project with the R35 million coming from Social Housing Regulatory Authority and R27.6 million from the Provincial Department of Human Settlements," the Eastern Cape Department of Human Settlements said.

"The other money has been raised privately by the social housing institution.

"The project is implemented by Qhama Social Housing Institution and will have 220 units consisting of bachelor, 1 and 2 bedroom units. The project is for rental purposes open to people that earn R1500-7500."

The project touches on three major significances for the province and nationally:

  • Re - addressing the past imbalances
  • Social housing instrument that assists urban renewal
  • National heritage

MEC Helen Sauls-August said the first work of the project will focus on the social housing element of the building and once it’s complete, the other elements will follow.

“This marks a defining moment for the people of the Eastern Cape Province as were are here to witness the fall of a painful past and the new beginning of a historic project. It is befitting that during the Year of Oliver Tambo, the work to convert this building into a living memorial of the struggle for freedom commences now,” said MEC Sauls- August.

She also committed that the social housing project will preserve the rich history and heritage of the building and create a living memorial of the struggle for liberation.

Revamp of the building will commence early in June and will run for a period of 12 months.

Image: Qhama CEO, Ms Thabisa Nodada; Mec Helen Sauls-August and former detainees task team members at the site handover of the building to the contractor on Friday.