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MBDA reports back on progress achieved in Helenvale

Thursday 15th October 2020, the Mandela Bay Development Agency held a report back Stakeholder Engagement meeting to give a report back on progress achieved to date. The Safety and Peace through Urban Upgrading (SPUU) has its genesis out of a National Treasury and then President Thabo Mbeki’s neighborhood development initiatives also referred to as the Urban Renewal programme that started in 2001. The Governments of South Africa and Germany agreed to cooperate in socio-economic and political stability, by contributing to violence and crime prevention. Under the overall framework of this Development Cooperation, a Financial Cooperation (FC) Programme titled Safety and Peace through Urban Upgrading Programme (SPUU) for Helenvale has been approved, co-financed by Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM), through a Financing Agreement (FA) dated 5th September 2012 valued at 5m euros. Later in 2012, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) Council resolved to relocate the Helenvale Urban Renewal Program to the MBDA. The MBDA was appointed as the Project Executing Agency (PEA), and the details for implementation elaborated in a Separate Agreement (SA) between KfW and MBDA dated 5th December 2012. The programme goal is to improve the quality of life of the residents of Helenvale, especially through the reduction of crime and violence. The programme objective is to increase the safety of the residents with special regard to the main component areas. The five component areas are, Public space and physical infrastructure, Safer schools, Youth employment promotion, Domestic violence prevention and to deliver a Housing strategy. As of the 15tho of October 2020, a total expenditure of R67 801 642,65 out of the R70 262 000,00 (exchange rate equivalent of 5m euros) budget allocated to the Helenvale SPUU program was achieved, this equates to 84% expenditure under very challenging and often life-threatening situations. The numerous delays caused by tensions between various community interest groups, vandalism, construction site stoppages, robberies and other disruptions contributed to nearly R10m (8-10%) lost to the project. NMBM Member of the Mayoral Committee, Cllr Marlon Daniels along with Acting Executive Mayor, Cllr Thsonono Buyeye both attended the feedback and report meeting, both congratulating the MBDA and all stakeholders involved for reaching this milestone. Various community stakeholder representatives also gave commendable feedback to the MBDA, expressing satisfaction and appreciation of the SPUU program. One may ask, what has been the impact of this program in Helenvale? The answer and reality are that the impacts will be felt in many years to come. With completion of major infrastructure upgrades only a few months ago, it is too soon to tell if the program has met its goals and objectives. What we do know is that the economic spin offs during project implementation were evident for all to see. The immense value of construction work to 22 locally based SMME’s averaged R300 000.00 and many localized jobs created during the lifespan of the project. The reality is that the built infrastructure, walkways, school sporting facilities, streel lighting and community sports grounds will benefit generations to come. One other important and complicated impact to measure and quantify is the value of the various psychosocial interventions. Programs in skills development, training programmes, community dialogues, gender-based violence victim support, counselling, financial support to various community NGO’s and opportunities created through procurement of goods and services will have a lasting positive legacy in Helenvale. R3m was spent with over 12 000 participants and beneficiaries. In conclusion, the leadership of the NMBM has made it clear that the City is committed to stay the course in the development of Helenvale. Cllr Daniels urged citizens to protect and nature the investments they have already received through this project if they hope to attract more.