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JOINT STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE, AND IMIZAMO YETHU COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP

Last night, along with the City of Cape Town’s new Project Portfolio Management Team and various senior City Management officials, I met with the Imizamo Yethu community leadership.

The meeting served to update the community leadership on the consolidated super-blocking plan.

We informed the community that the super-blocking plan relies heavily on the need to move people who are currently living on the super-blocking site.

The majority of the people in Imizamo Yethu are working with us and want to see the project being completed.

However, there is a minority of people who need to be moved so that the project can progress. We need to keep spaces open so that we can build roads and install services such as water, stormwater, electricity, and sanitation infrastructure.

We have asked the community to work with us on a plan for how we will move people because we need to ensure that open sites are not repeatedly illegally occupied.I also updated the community leadership with regard to the halting of works within the area due to contractor’s equipment and site offices being destroyed and infrastructure being damaged as a result of the violent protests.

As a result, work within Madiba Square was impacted. Each day that has gone by since has meant that the contractor has not been able to deliver on the project. The community leadership last night agreed that they will ensure that the contractor will be allowed to commence with the work.

We brought the consolidated super-blocking plan to the leadership and we advised that the project would take an estimated 24 months to complete.

A project of this scale has never been done before and is line with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan’s priorities tomainstream basic service delivery to informal settlements.

The key challenge on the land where the super-blocking must be implemented, apart from moving people, is the difficult mountainous terrain where we need to prepare the land in order to install services such as water, electricity and sanitation, while ensuring the safety of the community during the construction.

Various phases are commencing and will be completed on an in-situ basis in the coming months.

For example, over the next four weeks, electricity will be re-installed in Madiba Square by 10 August 2017.

Firstly, in Madiba Square, the works include construction of a road, a walkway, and installation of stormwater infrastructure, bulk water and sewer works, and installation of electricity poles in the area.

Secondly, on the Shooting Range, a number of walkways will be constructed, sanitation services will be installed, an electrical reticulation network through the area will be installed.

Thirdly, the same roll-out of services will be implemented in wider Dontse Yakhe area.

In the coming weeks, we will commence with preparing the site for water, electricity and sanitation services to be installed in Road 1.  Road 1 is the backbone of where all infrastructure for the surrounding super-blocks will stem and creates an access road for emergency services vehicles to access the area more easily. Road 1 runs through wider Donste Yahke.

As part of the consolidated super-blocking, several roads will be formalised and developed. Once all roads are completed, the area will have an easier network of roads and services installed to better serve all residents in the area.

The City is also investigating the situation of the residents living on the sports field who have been committed to working with us to ensure that the super-blocking project is a success.

One of the community leaders, Lungisa Bezile, said: ‘We welcome the presentation and we are grateful for the efforts of putting this plan together. We are hopeful that it will work. This is what we have been asking for – a consolidated plan for super-blocking the area. We feel more comfortable with this. We give our commitment to ensure that the plan can continue as quickly as possible and not be jeopardised’.

The community leadership requested that a monitoring system is put in place for them to evaluate the work being done so that they can know what the exact progress is and be alerted to any delays as they happen.

Similarly, the community will be our eyes and ears and will alert the City of any delays on the ground.

The community also requested a workshop to simplify the plan so that they can confidently engage with the broader community on it. This will be in addition to the frequent meetings that take place with the community leadership.

I support the community’s requests and the monitoring system and workshop will be put in place.

We all remain committed to working together as we have been doing to ensure that we deliver the services that the community of Imizamo Yethu needs.

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