J-Bay renewal project danger to community

MONEY WASTED: Residents, from left, Sifiso Sibiya, Thando Zweni and Mzolisi Xoko outside the abandoned centre. Picture: YOLISWA SOBUWA
MONEY WASTED: Residents, from left, Sifiso Sibiya, Thando Zweni and Mzolisi Xoko outside the abandoned centre. Picture: YOLISWA SOBUWA

Multimillion-rand Ocean View development now just an eyesore

A R21-million multipurpose township renewal project in Jeffreys Bay has fallen into complete disrepair before it even opened its doors.

The project, which first started in 2009 in the Ocean View township of Jeffreys Bay, was meant to house a creche, hawkers’ facility, car wash and toilets for a taxi rank.

But while the project was meant to boost the township’s economy, vandals have instead stolen bricks, doors, windows and taps.

Graffiti has been sprayed on most of the building’s walls, with weeds coming out of every crevice.

The building, which was completed in 2011, was also built at the entrance of the township as a means of beautifying the area.

Ocean View resident Sipho Silango, 48, a taxi driver, said people were thrilled when the project was first announced and then built.

“The municipality at the time said the centre would benefit the community. We don’t know what happened though as the project was abandoned.”

Ntomboxolo Mentoor, 20, who lives and sells food in the area, said: “There is a high level of unemployment and the hawkers’ facility could have helped us.”

Mentoor said when it rained she was forced to close her shop, which is a container.

“I don’t have a proper structure. This would have changed everything for me,” she said.

Lindiwe Dontsa, 51, who is unemployed, said the building had become a hideout for drug users.

“It is scary to pass here at night because the lights are not working.

“People can be robbed and raped in these structures. It is a home for animals and kids on drugs.”

She said the money should have been used for houses.

Kouga mayor Elza van Lingen said the project was clouded in controversy from the start.

She said the project was trumpeted years ago by the ANC when they were still in power. The building contractor was never able to provide the necessary health and safety documentation.

“Consequently, an occupation certificate could not be awarded and the centre could not be [opened],” Van Lingen said

The ANC-led council in 2011 was never able to resolve the issues.

“The centre fell into despair but it is one of the critical issues we would like to address,” she said.

“We would like to see local entrepreneurs and businesses making use of that space.”

But before that happened the issue of an occupation certificate needed to be sorted out.

Kouga municipality ANC chief whip Malibongwe Dayimani said the project was spearheaded for township development.

“But if there were irregularities done by ANC we do not condone that. We therefore encourage people to open cases and we will not oppose an investigation by the council.”

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