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Mandela Bay Development Agency | Nelson Mandela Bay | Port Elizabeth | Uitenhage | Despatch | South Africa

  Business as usual at prized entity

2016-04-18 01:20:50 PM

Published: Herald (Morning Final) | 15 Apr 2016
By: Rochelle De Kock 

NELSON Mandela Bay's prized entity, the 
Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), was at pains yesterday to reassure the public that it was business as usual, and that there was a host of massive development projects coming to the city. This follows a recent decision by the former MBDA board to send the agency's chief executive, Pierre Voges, packing — when his contract ended last month — and the subsequent dis-solution of the board last week. 

At a media and stakeholders break-fast yesterday, acting chief executive Ashwin Daya and his team of man-agers presented a number of key projects in the pipeline for the MBDA over the next three to 20 years. These projects, according to the MBDA, are set to change the face of the city while enhancing economic development and job creation. This will add to the entity's al-ready impressive portfolio of work, which includes a major transformation of Port Elizabeth's central business district. 

One of the projects is the much-anticipated Baakens River Valley and Port Marina precinct project, which will see a complete rejuvenation of the area — and could take up to 20 years to complete. MBDA planning and development unit manager DoreIle Sapere said the estimated cost of the face-liftwas about R20-billion. "We expect to create about 46 000 jobs with the various projects, and we're targeting LSMs [living stand-ard measures] six and seven, so the middle-class," Sapere said. The transformation had started already with the revamp of the old Tramways building, which is now the MBDA's headquarters. 

A request for proposals to develop the Telkom Park area would be advertised next month, Sapere said. They hoped to have retail and office space developed on the land. Other major projects in the pipe-line for the MBDA include: The revamp of Bayworld, which is expected to start in August. A stakeholders session will be held to decide how to develop the building to uplift the beachfront and boost tourism; A mixed-use housing project with 1 000 social houses is in the pipeline for the Baakens Valley area. This is targeted at those earning be-tween R2 500 and R7 500 a month; 

A R3-billion master plan to up-grade the Schauderville/Korsten area over the next 15 years; Business as usual at prized entity Rochelle de Kock The upgrade of the Helenvale sports field, starting next month; Upgrading the Helenvale, Bay-view, Hillcrest and Gelvandale high schools — also from next month — with perimeter fencing, revamped playgrounds and sports fields, and counselling centres; Non-government organisations and non-profit organisations in Helen-vale will get financial assistance to continue making a difference in people's lives in the area; 

The construction of a swimming pool and recreational precinct in New Brighton; and Construction of the Neave Street recreational park, which will start in June. The project will cost about R5-million. Daya said nothing had changed and it was very much business as usual at the agency. He said the KfW Bank (German bank) that was funding the Helen-vale projects had reiterated that the entity's funding was still intact. Acting city manager Johann Mettler said the agency's reputation was still intact and none of the funders had raised any concerns about the spat between the former board members and municipal leadership. "We are confident that the MBDA will grow from strength to strength," he said.