The project will be implemented over three years and various sites will be covered
THE SOL Plaatje Municipality has been given a R496 million injection from National Treasury to upgrade the stormwater channels in the city.
The project, which forms part of Treasury’s Urban Network Programme, will be implemented in three phases, with phase one, which focuses on Nobengula Road, already under way.
Making the announcement yesterday, the city’s executive mayor, Mangaliso Matika, said that the R496 million had been approved by National Treasury to fund an estimated 109 kilometres of stormwater channels.
“Various sites will be covered, but in the main it will be Nobengula Road, through to Green Street and the area north of John Daka to Pniel Road. It is estimated that this project will be implemented over three years.”
It is hoped that around 200 temporary jobs will be created by the project.
“In preparing for the project submission and starting initial phases, the municipality and its appointed agents for professional engineering and construction are ready to resume with this project,” Matika said.
He pointed out that the municipality was the first and only middle income municipality to be assisted in this way “which is indicative of the confidence which our municipality enjoys”.
The project will involve the replacement of existing stormwater pipes.
The city’s inadequate stormwater drainage system was highlighted with the flooding in 2009 and 2011, which affected the greater Galeshewe, including Nobengula Street and up to Seleke Street in Bloemanda.
More than 200 households were affected when the Kagisho Retention Dam burst.
“Following the flooding, the municipality conducted a feasibility study to investigate options to ensure that floods are controlled to an extent, and to reduce the impact on households in low-lying areas. The municipality, together with the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, spent more than R8 million to elevate the foundations of 84 houses in Bloemanda, to prevent further flooding and damage to property.”
Matika stated that as part of a more permanent solution, however, one of the projects identified was the upgrading of the stormwater system within the greater Kimberley.
“As part of the Neighbourhood Development and Partnership Grant, an opportunity presented itself under the Public Transport Network Project, and currently there are two projects under way, the taxi/bus shelter lay-by’s and the pedestrian walkways. National Treasury allocated an amount of R25 million in the 2016/17 financial year for the upgrade of stormwater on Nobengula Road.”
Matika said that the municipality’s discussion with National Treasury did not end there. “We pursued and managed to convince them that we are willing, we are capable and we are ready as a municipality to implement mega-projects.”
“It is with great excitement to announce that our efforts have paid off and the R496 million allocation for the upgrading of the stormwater network was finalised recently between National Treasury and the Sol Plaatje team.
“We welcome this bold initiative to change and improve the fortunes of our municipality.”
This project comes shortly after Sanral’s announcement to upgrade certain key intersections in the Sol Plaatje area.
“These projects will run for a period of twelve months each totalling work span of 37 months at the three intersections. The spin-offs of the Sanral initiative will have an immediate impact as 104 job opportunities will be created at the inception stage. These projects will bring about much needed relief to the Sol Plaatje Municipality community in the face of the difficult economic challenges faced globally.”
Matika stated that while the new council had been in office for less than a year and half, it had managed to bring half a billion rands worth of infrastructure development to the city.
“While this will create jobs, more importantly it will also ensure the transfer of skills, as these projects need to be maintained.”
Answering questions about the sewage backlogs in the city, Matika pointed out that the city was currently in the process of implementing the Nelson Mandela Precinct programme, part of which was to address the infrastructure backlogs, including looking at the ageing infrastructure.
“We have inherited infrastructure that is more than 60 years old and the establishment of the university is also creating pressure on the existing infrastructure. Some of the planning done in the past was also not done correctly, which is why we are now sitting with backlogs.”
He stated that members of the public also needed to take ownership of the city’s infrastructure.
“Often when we have blockages, we find that people have thrown foreign objects into the sewage system. We will be embarking on a major education drive to teach people that they need to take responsibility for looking after the infrastructure, which is being provided to make their lives better.”
Matika said peace officers would be implemented to protect the infrastructure as well as implement the city’s by-laws. “For example, we have a major problem with litter and we need to go back to the old days where each household adopts its own pavement.”