Plan to speed up Helenvale project

Gabriele Götz, KfW Development Bank Senior Project Manager Picture: Supplied
Gabriele Götz, KfW Development Bank Senior Project Manager
Picture: Supplied

Role-players in R100m development scheme meet to assess progress

Despite running behind schedule on the Safety and Peace through Urban Upgrade project, donors and stakeholders are confident the project will pave the way for Helenvale to become a hub of opportunity for its residents.

These sentiments were echoed when various role-players met for a mid-term review workshop on the progress of the multimillion- rand project at the Helenvale Resource Centre yesterday.

It is financed by German development bank KfW and the municipality, and is being implemented by the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA).

KfW has put R80-million into the project and, on completion, would have seen more than R100-million invested in the area.

Attended by acting city manager Johann Mettler, ward councillor Pieter Hermaans, mayor Athol Trollip and KfW development bank senior project manager Gabriele Götz, the information session was aimed at assessing the progress of the project, looking at the planning, achievements and shortfalls.

Various speakers laid out the work already conducted according to the “five strategic pillars” of the project.

These include work done to improve public spaces and infrastructure in the area, initiatives to promote safer schools, youth employment promotions, prevention of domestic violence projects and the improvement of living spaces.

A number of programmes have already been implemented.

These include youth leadership workshops, computer training courses, sporting events, skills development courses, bursaries sponsored by Coca-Cola, youth media training, women’s dialogues and training in home based care, among others.

Götz said a similar project was conducted in Cape Town.

“We want to bring that same success to Helenvale, which is a complete different setting, and adapt it and see if it works here as well,” she said.

Mettler said other departments of the municipality would need to become involved in finding solutions to the issues faced by the community.

“My approach is about implementation, monitoring and evaluation,” he said. “Plans will be devised. I will then evaluate those plans to see if they will work, but in the end, the targets we set ourselves must be targets we have agreed on.”

According to the MBDA, progress of the current project in terms of the master plan stood at 30% completion.

It was also revealed that R20- million in projects had already taken off within the community.

The project came to a temporary halt between July last year and February due to disputes among leadership in the community at the time.

The project only got going again once the ward committee had been incorporated into the Project Action committee.

MBDA chief executive Pierre Voges said although certain risks, problems and challenges w e re evident, he believed it was necessary for the MBDA, the municipality and the community of Helenvale to resolve them.

“We are slightly running behind on the original project timelines, but everyone is committed to working hard and together to catch up,” he said.

Although a date of completion for the project was not revealed, the MBDA hopes to meet its deadline of January 2018.

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