The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has injected over R300 million towards improving the living conditions of Bekkersdal residents, bringing much needed relief to this west rand community. Speaking at the launch of the Bekkersdal Service Delivery Improvement Plan (SDIP) over on Saturday, Gauteng Human Settlements and COGTA MEC Jacob Mamabolo said that the projects would not only change the outlook of the area but also revitalise the township’s economy.
The launch included the sewer network upgrade, cleaning campaign with help of Pikitup (CoJ) and a new secondary school under the theme “Turning Bekkersdal Around for a Better Future”. Mamabolo said that he was pleased that the sewer upgrade project, which will cost R320 million, was finally launched.
“The sewer that was running down the streets made life difficult for residents as it was a health hazard to the residents. We are responding to an aging infrastructure which is unable to deal with the current situation. This is an important capital investment which will radically transform the lives of residents of Bekkersdal,” Mamabolo said.
MEC Mamabolo said that a lot of preparatory work for the sewer upgrade had already been done, with the appointed service provider presenting new drawings for the upgrade of the network. “The map will make it easier in the future for the municipality to fix problems. The old apartheid government did not handover maps and drawings to the new government so we had to start afresh. We also expect the project to benefitlocal people, empower local contractors and revitalise the economy of Bekkersdal,” Mamabolo said.
He appealed to the people of Bekkersdal to allow work to begin in the area urged the community to the custodian of these projects. Commenting on the launching of the cleaning campaign, MEC Mamabolo said they were implementing Minister Pravin Gordhan back to basics strategy of turning municipalities around. MEC said that the Departments of Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs had roped in the City of Johannesburg to assist with the cleaning backlog in Bekkersdal. This as part of cultivating the culture of Gauteng as a city region, with municipalities working together as a unit to leverage off each others’ strengths.
“The City of Johannesburg has brought in 10 compactor trucks to assist the Westonaria Local Municipality with cleaning the area for a period of a year. This initiative will also create jobs for the residents,” Mamabolo said, adding that as part of making Gauteng green the City of Johannesburg will also launch a recycling project in the area as part of further job creation. MEC Mamabolo, West Rand District Executive Mayor Mpho Nawa and Westonaria Local Municipality Executive Mayor Nonkoliso Tundzi also signed a memorandum of understanding with Sibanye Gold and Gold Fields to support the building of a new school in the area as part of a public and private sector
Westonaria Local Municipality Executive Mayor Nonkoliso Tundzi was overwhelmed and urged the community to allow the projects to happen peacefully without disruptions. “These projects are going to benefit members of the community socially, economically and in terms of skills and development”, the Executive Mayor said.
Local resident, Lidia Hlatshaneni said that as a community they had lost hope in the government because of many promises, but now they were happy to see different spheres of government in the area launching projects. “MEC Mamabolo promised many things and I hope they all materialise especially the sewer upgrade project”, she said.
This turn-around plan is a product of months of behind-the-scenes engagements between the province and the concerned residents – the Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents Association.
“The launch of this programme is a testament that this administration has adopted an activist character and committed to working with aggrieved communities and finding long lasting solutions” commented MEC Jacob Mamabolo who kick-started and spearheaded engagements with the community leaderships immediately after the new administration took office in May this year.
A multimillion gymnasium facility training have been finished and ready to be used by the public. The gym already has training equipments like treadmill, rowing machines, bikes, step machines, multi machine, change rooms for both men and women and toilets. The gymnasium is for the community of Westonaria at large, and will be used for weight lifting, toning, fitness and conditioning.
This state of the art facility was officially opened by the Executive Mayor, Councilor Nonkoliso Tundzi and this event was attended by a multitude of community residents. All political principals and officials were pleasantly happy about developments they witnessed. Accompanied by MMC’s during the opening visit to all the projects, Executive Mayor, Councilor Nonkoliso Tundzi said she was blown away by the progress made at MPPC and particularly the gym. “We are impressed by the progress we are seeing today.” She also encouraged the MMC’s and workers that they should be the first ones to use the gym and start promoting healthy lifestyle, wellness, nation building and social cohesion.
The Municipality will continue to support and assisting Westonaria residents by providing them with equipment, facilities and other resources required for development of sport and recreation, she concludes.
The municipality through its Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) section is collaborating with the provincial Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) for the operation of the gymnasium. The Department of SARC would like to make the gymnasium a Satellite Academy Centre for West Rand. The Academy will be recognized by the MEC for SARC and will have Biokinetics, Sports Medicine, Science and other specialists.
The academy will include the following 7 priority codes athletics, boxing, cricket, football, netball, rugby, swimming and qualified, experience human resource. Services to be rendered by the academy includes amongst other coaching, medical assessments, screening and interventions, scientific support and interventions, psychological assessments and interventions, technological support and interventions, life skills and career counselling and guidance, information services, education and training, international exposure and talent identification, development and nurturing.