uMngeni’s heritage hash

2010-05-11 00:00

THE uMngeni Municipality is being hauled over the coals for failing to look after one of its properties.

The Witness understands that in December 2008, the municipality bought Monument Cottages, a 25-hectare farm opposite the Nelson Mandela Capture Site, for R3,5 million after receiving a grant from the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department for economic development.

The Witness has been informed that the property has been standing empty since it was bought and although there is a 24-hour guard, all the geysers have been stolen from the property and the site is unkempt and poorly maintained.

The Witness has been told that the municipality is now trying to rent out the property so that they can get additional income and do away with the security.

The municipality has denied the allegations.

uMngeni’s general manger for economic development and growth Felix Nxumalo said people need to realise that they are busy with a project that cannot be finished overnight.

He said they applied for funding from the department for the upgrading of the Nelson Mandela Capture Site and for the development of the Monument Cottages as part of the province’s economic development project.

He said the new designs for both sites are now complete and the environmental impact assessment (EIA) will kick-in from now until the end of October this year.

This is why there has been no development on the site, said Nxumalo, but they have since rented the property out to a suitable company that will keep it in good condition until the project kicks off.

He said the company will start once the memorandum of agreement has been signed

“Once the project is fully packaged and the record of decision has been issued by the Environmental Affairs Department, the municipality will then call for expressions of interest to develop the property as per the architectural designs.

“According to the implementation plan, construction should start at the beginning of 2011,” said Nxumalo.

He said allegations that they were renting out the site for R30 000 a month were “unfounded and untrue … [because] the rental amount has not been agreed upon.”

Said Nxumalo: “Plans to develop the property are progressing quite well and we are on target at this stage.”

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