Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmersconducted a sod-turning to officially launch the Qolweni 169 Phase 3A Project in the Plettenberg Bay area. Picture supplied
Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmersconducted a sod-turning to officially launch the Qolweni 169 Phase 3A Project in the Plettenberg Bay area. Picture supplied

After several delays controversial Bitou housing project finally begins

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Aug 31, 2021

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Cape Town - Two years after it got the green light for construction to begin, the controversial R33.5 million Qolweni Phase 3A Project in the Plettenberg Bay area of Bitou Municipality is finally under way.

The project was approved in October 2019 and construction of the 169 units was to have begun in January 2021, but faced several hurdles.

Provincial Human Settlements spokesperson Marcellino Martin said: “Due to various challenges between the Bitou Municipality, the contractor appointed by them and community dynamics, this could not occur.

“After numerous community protests, the Bitou Municipality handed the project over to the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements on June 18 this year.

“Regrettably, the department could not immediately commence with the project, as the contractor that was appointed by the municipality threatened the department with legal action and an interdict,” said Martin.

Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers conducted a sod-turning on Monday to officially launch the project and urged everyone involved to ensure that there were no further hindrances or delays with the project.

“Since taking the project over, we’ve had regular and transparent engagements with all stakeholders. We therefore call for dialogue, should any issue for any reason arise,” said Simmers.

Bitou mayor Sandiso Gcabayi confirmed that the municipality was committed to working with the department and all stakeholders to see the project fully developed.

On behalf of the community, Ikhwezi Political Movement (IPM) spokesperson Sivuyile Nkomo said: We are happy to see that the project is moving forward again. The people of Qolweni have been waiting for far too long.

“However, we still call on the provincial government to undertake a full audit of the funds allocated to the project. Especially during the time the project was under Bitou Municipality.

“We, as IPM, know that some officials within the Bitou Municipality stole the money, this is why the project was delayed. There must be consequences to theft and corruption. We cannot just let it go unpunished,” said Nkomo.

Area councillor, Xola Matyila (ANC), urged the provincial government to assist with more housing projects for the residents of Qolweni as the 169 units would not cover the community’s needs.

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Cape Argus

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