Site of Madiba’s capture to be upgraded

2010-08-16 00:00

FORMER president Nelson Mandela’s capture site, which is represented by a red brick monument with a plaque on the R103 near Howick, is to get a facelift.

This will occur after the finalisation of an environmental impact assessment that, according to uMngeni Municipality, should be complete before December.

The municipality put up the monument in 1996 to honour the site where Mandela was captured by apartheid police before they imprisoned him on Robben Island.

Said the council’s economic development general manager, Felix Nxumalo, “The site of the capture of Mandela has for many years been identified as a significant place in the history of South Africa.

“Since this site is a national heritage, it is now administered by Amafa, the KwaZulu-Natal heritage body.

“At present it is represented by a red brick monument with a plaque, and is broadly acknowledged as being rather insignificant relative to its importance.”

He said the municipality has, through the KZN Corridor Development Fund, secured funding for the upgrade of the site to world class standard. “The upgrade of the monument itself will be done by Amafa KwaZulu-Natal.

“To harness its potential of attracting more tourists, uMngeni Municipality has bought the land across the road opposite the monument.”

Nxumalo said service providers, including architects, have been appointed to come up with architectural designs and specialist studies to ensure that the envisaged development is sustainable.

The feasibility study, traffic impact assessment, civil engineering services and geo-technical studies have all been completed, he added.

It has emerged from the research that for the development to be sustainable, a mix of activities, rather than each activity in isolation, “will give the strength of gravity to the development, not forgetting that the site itself is a major attraction”.

The upgrade will include a museum, shop and information centre, a theatre or multi-purpose community centre and a boutique hotel.

The facility will also serve as an information centre.

Nxumalo said the municipality saw the need to develop a heritage museum capturing the struggle history of KZN midlands, because the epicentre of much of this country’s struggle is there.

“Considering that a new housing complex is to be built almost adjacent to the site, it is imperative that job creation and entrepreneurial opportunities are maximised.”

The multi-purpose community centre will cater for theatrical performances, workshops and conferences, concerts, oral performances and poetry, outreaches, local talent competitions and films.

“Once this project is fully packaged we will then call for the expression of interest from the developers. Our role as uMngeni Municipality is that of facilitation,” said Nxumalo.

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