Housing projects visited
By Tabisa Mntengwana
28 March 2012
THE celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the partnership between Buffalo City and Gavle, in Sweden, culminated in a seminar and a walkabout of East London's housing projects.
At the seminar, held on Tuesday, 20 March, the metro's management gathered with the Gavle delegation at Hotel Osner in Quigney, where they discussed existing and upcoming projects.
The portfolio head of corporate services, Thembisa Zantsi, said: "We are here to build each other and find ways and ideas to assist with each project."
The Swedish ambassador, Peter Teljer, spoke about the relationship between the two cities. "This relationship was formed in 2002 with the aim of helping each other in terms of road maintenance, leadership development, water supply and electricity.
"Our country has been working with African countries for over 350 years and we take pride in working with Buffalo City as well."
Giving the background to the partnership was the manager of international relations and development co-operation, Darby Gounden, and her Swedish counterpart, Leila Nordfors.
"The initial aim was for both municipalities to learn from each other based on the nine principles that constituted our memorandum of understanding and also to achieve each goal based on our skills, knowledge and competence from municipal resources," Nordfors said.
HIV and Aids
Gounden added: "Our main projects include the lack of electricity, water, HIV and Aids, geographic information systems [GIS], and community support centres. Each project has been funded with R450 000 each year."
The last activity was a walkabout of East London's housing projects. It began with a tour of Southernwood Square, which was recently opened by the minister of human settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, in Southernwood.
It was followed by a visit to Reservoir Mews, a sister project of Southernwood Square. Both housing projects were built and are managed by Own Haven.
Addressing the delegation, Own Haven's manager, Andrew Wiseman, said: "These are subsidised flats that are part of the municipality's housing projects.
They were built with the hope of helping the working class who earn between R800 and R3 500 a month."
Rentals started from R750, and went up to R2 500 a month. "Our company is environmentally friendly," he added. "We have separate waste bins [at the flats], so the tenants can put glass, plastic and tins in separate bins [for recycling]."
The trip ended at Garcia flats in Cambridge, where members of the housing committee spoke to the visitors about their problems, such as crime, drug and alcohol abuse.
"Our flats are dirty and are not taken care of by both our cleaners and tenants, and there is no security."