The integration of communities and the availability of land and human settlements, focused on boosting economic development and job creation, need to be the drumbeat of the march going forward.
That was the clear message from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Cllr Nqaba Bhanga, while addressing the audience at a three-day Nelson Mandela Bay Human Settlements Indaba, held at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) hosted this Indaba to engage Human Settlements stakeholders and Councillors about its medium- to long-term strategic human settlements and housing delivery plans in the City.
Present at the Indaba were stakeholders from the banking sector, construction business representatives, both small, medium and big; human settlements agencies like the Housing Development Agency (HDA) and the National Housing Board Regulatory Council (NHBRC); and all the Councillors of the Municipality.
Addressing the Indaba, Cllr Bhanga revealed that the Municipality had already endorsed, for the first time in the history of the city, an integrated human settlements development in Summerstrand.
“As a clear commitment, plans are already in place to start a development in Summerstrand. This development is meant to assist a middle-aged single mother who has to travel every day from the township to work in Summerstrand. It will also assist students studying at the Nelson Mandela University who would otherwise have spent thousands on transport fees,” said Cllr Bhanga.
The Summerstrand development has already got a blessing of Council. The municipality is currently under supply chain processes with that is engaging with developers. A clear brief has been given to accommodate a mixed use affordable residential housing, student accommodation and retail business development.
Cllr Bhanga added that the Indaba was the perfect platform for all spheres of government and stakeholders to engage, advise each other and share thoughts on how such initiatives could best be realised. “We no longer have the luxury of time to integrate our people. Time is no longer on our side: our people are under pressure for development that talks to their needs. We need pro-activeness in thinking, decisiveness and swiftness in implementation,” emphasised Cllr Bhanga.
He called on other spheres of government to support and cooperate with the Municipality in its quest to identify and purchase different pieces of land across the City. Other areas identified for development were located in Walmer, Hunters Retreat, Baakens Valley and Mount Croix. Diversified developments like social housing, RDP houses, student accommodation, business parks and amenities would form part of envisaged developments in these areas.
Department of Human Settlements Director General Mbulelo Tshangana expressed the Department’s support for the plans. “As a Department we are encouraged by these plans. Discussions here in the Indaba also indicate that with good cooperation among all spheres of government, the future is bright. The Department is committed to support the Municipality in its plans at different levels, including capacity and funding, so that it can realise its goals,” said Tshangana.
Land invasion also came under the spotlight as a major challenge for human settlements development, with delegates unanimously agreeing that a pro-active, swift and credible housing delivery approach was the answer.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Human Settlements Directorate will take all the resolutions taken at the Indaba and package them into a document that will be channelled through the processes of Council. The intention is to integration all these resolutions into the institution’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP).