Millions earmarked for Mdantsane CBD revamp

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

East London - Plans to revamp the dilapidated CBD of one of South Africa's largest townships in the Eastern Cape, Mdantsane, are in full swing.

Mdantsane, just outside East London, will undergo a R128 million makeover as part of Buffalo City Municipality's (BCM) Mdantsane Urban Renewal Programme to breathe new life into ageing infrastructure and dilapidated social facilities in the township's CBD.

"The municipality's engineering department has already identified infrastructure capacity constraints, particularly the sanitation services, which need to be upgraded. We have also started with the land acquisition process to purchase privately-owned land for identified projects," said municipal spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya.

He added that the R128 million would be spent over the next five to 10 years in an effort to boost the area economically.

"This project is in keeping with the city's aims of building infrastructure that will boost economic and social development, and create sustainable development within the area," added Ngwenya.

Mdantsane Urban Renewal Programme operations manager, Mamoeketsi Khetsi, said the revamp project will include a night economy, increased commerce, business, work and residential opportunities, better use of public spaces and recreational and social entertainment facilities. 

"We initiated the project to stimulate economic development through the creation of an enabling environment for business and to leverage public funds to boost private sector funding in the area," said Khetsi.

Asanda Charlie, 24, a lifelong resident of Mdantsane's NU7, said the project could not have come at a better time.

"This is good news for me and other unemployed young people in the area. This project will hopefully create a lot of jobs for Mdantsane residents, because the unemployment rate here is very high," said Charlie.

Plans for revamping the CBD also include the introduction of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) public transport system, which is expected to be complete next year.

The BRT route will include Qumza Highway, which connects East London and Mdantsane.

A boxing museum, private clinic, social housing facility and student residence are other projects that are set to be built in the CBD. - BuaNews