Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, has undertaken to clear the challenges hindering the implementation of the Southern Cape Corridor Development (SCCD) Project in the Garden Route District Municipality.

The Minister made the undertaking during a visit to the municipality in the Western Cape on Thursday to assess progress made in the provision of sustainable human settlements. The visit also formed part of the 2023/2024 Budget Vote activities and the upcoming Presidential District Development Model (DDM) Imbizo taking place at Paarl on Friday.

Addressing the community at the Concordia Faith Mission Church in Knysna, Kubayi said during her visit to the bungalows situated in that town, she had realised there was a need for an urgent intervention to fast-track the implementation of the housing projects.

She declared the situation an emergency, saying that teams from the department will as early as next week conduct assessments to determine the kind of interventions required to develop the area for housing.

“This includes the Southern Cape Corridor Development Project, projected for construction on 55.2468 hectares of land parcels donated by the Department of Transport through its agency, the South African National Road Agency (SANRAL).

“However, the project has stalled due to the lack of bulk infrastructure, land invasions, and some portions of the land that are unsuitable for development,” Kubayi said.

The project is expected to provide more than 600 houses, which will benefit people living in poor conditions, as well as communities that were affected by the 2017 fires in Knysna, Bitou and to an extent George.

Kubayi said the fire victims have been accommodated in Transitional Relocation Units (TRAs) constructed in the area.

In addition to the land donated by SANRAL, the Knysna Municipality has identified various government-owned land parcels which are critical in addressing human settlement challenges within the district municipality.

The identified properties measure a total of 470 hectares, with approximately 100 hectares suitable for human settlement development.

The Minister underscored the need for the province and the municipalities to collaborate, and respond urgently to help people who are still living in poor conditions and TRAs.

“Constant engagements with communities are important, to give them feedback on how far we are with projects and what is the next step,” Kubayi said.

Kubayi was joined by Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete, the Executive Mayors of the Garden Route District Municipality Memory Booysen, George Local Municipality Ald van Wyk and Bitou Local Municipality Deputy Mayor Mavis Busakwe. – SAnews.gov.za

Source: South African Government News Agency

News Reporter