R46m centre nears completion

The Thusong Centre in Motherwell is close to completion Picture: Brian Witbooi

Delayed Motherwell facility expected to be open by next month

After nearly eight years of delays, the Motherwell Thusong Centre is nearing completion and is expected to be up and running by next month.

The R46-million centre will bring much-needed municipal and government services closer to residents and is expected to house the Department of Home Affairs, a traffic and licensing centre and the metro police.

Construction of the building stalled several times, with subcontractors downing tools a number of times since it began, demanding what they claimed was money owed to them for work done.

The project forms part of the municipality’s R200-million Motherwell urban renewal programme and was one of eight pilot areas targeted by then president Thabo Mbeki’s presidential urban renewal programme in 2001.

A progress report presented on Friday to the economic development, tourism and agriculture committee revealed that the project had been delayed further by SMMEs since the new drive to complete construction started in December.

But committee political head Andrew Whitfield commended all departments for a job well done.

“In eight months, this department has been able to achieve what it had not been able to achieve in almost a decade – to build a centre that will provide services to the community.”

The committee would visit the centre before the end of the month.

“The process of the handover remains a question of concern,” Whitfield said.

A report compiled by economic development, tourism and agriculture executive director Anele Qaba reiterated Whitfield’s sentiments.

“After nine years in the making, the centre is finally set to open its doors to offer much-needed services not only to the Motherwell community, but to the much wider community of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality,” Qaba wrote.

“With the accommodation of either provincial or national departments, the centre will live up to its true conceptual name, ‘Thusong’.”

Thusong is a Sesotho word meaning “a place to get assistance”.

DA councillor Masixole Zinto also applauded a job well done.

“As a Motherwell resident, I commend the directorate,” Zinto said.

“I can see the progress – it’s really moving.”

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