History is being made in the Gamtoos Valley where ten local SMMEs have been employed by Kouga Municipality to build temporary shelters for beneficiaries of the upcoming Hankey RDP housing development.
A total of 343 shelters will be built, with the first 200 set for completion by the end of July 2020, said Kouga Planning and Development Portfolio Chairman, Alderman Ben Rheeder.
Rheeder said the shelters would be used to accommodate families from the informal settlement Stofwolk who would need to move while services were being installed to the housing sites and the houses were being built.
“The relocation site will be fully serviced,” he said. “Access roads are already in place. There will be communal taps and containerised ablution facilities.
“Eskom will also be installing electricity to all completed shelters.”
He said the shelters would greatly improve the living conditions of beneficiaries while they wait for their new houses.
“Stofwolk was badly neglected by the previous Councils of the municipality. This will be the first time that hundreds of residents will have direct access to electricity.”
He said the shelters were also an opportunity to de-densify Stofwolk as part of local efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“It comes at a time when the number of COVID-19 infections in our region is on the rise.
“Relocating families to the temporary shelters will help to alleviate the congestion in Stofwolk and facilitate social distancing.”
He said the project was also being used to support local businesses and help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on the economy.
“Everyone who is involved with erecting the shelters, from the suppliers to the construction teams, is from Kouga,” he said.
“The material is being supplied by Take Five from Jeffreys Bay, with the support of Build-it.
“All ten the SMMEs constructing the shelters are from Hankey. Each SMME has three to four workers on site, which means almost 40 residents have been employed to bring the project to fruition.”
He said public meetings had already been held last year to explain to affected households how the relocation would work.
“Now that the project is under way, there will be further consultation to ensure everything goes smoothly.”
He said a total of 990 RDP houses were set to be built at Hankey.
“The East Cape Department of Human Settlements will be appointing a service provider to install the internal services and build the houses. If all goes according to plan, work will start within the next few months.”