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WATCH VIDEO: Long-awaited Thusong Centre opened in Motherwell

By Afikile Lugunya - Dec 14, 2017
WATCH VIDEO: Long-awaited Thusong Centre opened in Motherwell

After years of waiting for government services to be brought closer to their community, the residents of Motherwell, in Port Elizabeth, on Thursday received a multi-million rand Thusong Centre.

The center, which is located at Motherwell's NU4, was officially opened by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, who previously promised the Bay's coalition government will turn townships into suburbs.

According to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, the centre brings services such as paying of municipal services, payment of driver’s and learner’s licenses, and testing, closer to residents.

In addition to these services, a third Metro Police precinct will be opened and operate at the Centre early next year.

R71 million has been spent to build the Thusong Centre over the past 10 years. The municipality said that it had encountered problems of shoddy workmanship, contractors abandoning the site and overspending, which led to delays in completing the centre. 

In 2016, when the Democratic Alliance (DA) led coalition government took over the running of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, the project was identified as a priority project.

According to  Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Member of the Mayor Committee (MMC) for Safety and Security, Councillor John Best, a customer care service was opened on the 31st of November, with citizens using it to pay their municipal accounts, check and update their accounts and apply for Assistance to the Poor (ATTP) Scheme subsidies. 

The municipality has applied to register the Centre with the National Department of Transport in order to offer full Traffic and Licensing Centre services. It awaits for Department of Transport to approve the accreditation and as such, the centre rates as a B-Grade facility for now.

"The only thing that will not be able to be tested are motor cycles, which makes the Thusong Centre B-Grade, but all learners’ licences can be tested," Cllr Best described.

"Once the facility has been officially registered in terms of issuing of testing licenses, which we hope that it will be by the end of March. We are making available a facility at the customer care centre where people can pay their licences and for their driving licences fines."

He added that the actual driver's licence testing will be done electronically in this new Thusong Centre as soon as accreditation is granted.

Speaking at the same event, Executive Mayor Trollip said that with the Thusong Centre, the aim is to bring municipal services closer to the people of Motherwell.

"We promised the people of this Metro that we will bring quality services closer to where they stay. In an area as big a Motherwell, it was important for us to have a facility of this nature. It would be unjust of us for our people to have to travel to neighbouring municipalities for traffic services and yet we have a structure like this left to fall apart," said the Executive Mayor.

He added that the lesson to be taken from the success of the project was that close cooperation between the politicians, who are responsible for oversight and the officials, who implement projects was critical.

"In every project that we do, we must always make sure that we deliver on time and within budget so that we can save the Municipality money for more services like the fixing of roads, street lights, cleaning of the City and stopping water leaks," explained Trollip.