26 April 2011
Plans to revamp the central business district of Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape – one of South Africa’s largest townships – are in full swing.
Mdantsane, just outside East London, will undergo a R128-million makeover as part of the Buffalo City Municipality’s Mdantsane Urban Renewal Programme, which seeks to breathe new life into ageing infrastructure and dilapidated social facilities in the township.
The funds will be spent over the next five to 10 years in an effort to boost the area economically.
“The municipality’s engineering department has already identified infrastructure capacity constraints, particularly the sanitation services, which need to be upgraded,” municipal spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said in East London last week. “We have also started with the land acquisition process to purchase privately-owned land for identified projects.
“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,” Ngwenya said.
Increased residential and commercial opportunities
Mdantsane Urban Renewal Programme operations manager Mamoeketsi Khetsi said the revamp project will include increased residential and commerical 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.
Plans for revamping the central business district 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 the 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 central business district.