Looking Back At 1997


Laying the foundations:
The projects that moved into the construction phase during 1997 are just the "tip of the iceberg", and 1998 will see delivery of a large number of projects which are currently in the pipeline. Thus a frenzy of building activity can be expected in 1998, with the focus on establishing the infrastructure that will underpin the housing projects. CMDA Chief Executive Officer, Clive Forster, spoke to IZWI about the ups and downs of 1997, and gave us a hint of what we can expect for Cato Manor in 1998.


The clinic is finished, and will be open for business in 1998. (L-r) Ajay Singh, Zaahid Mall and Peter Govender of Azcon Projects who were responsible for building the clinic, admire their work.
(Click to zoom)

There are several areas that are the key to creating an environment in which successful development can happen. In all of these areas there has been significant progress during the course of 1997.

"Invasion of land in Cato Manor has stopped, and this has made a big difference, because it means energy can be channelled into development, and not into dealing with crises. It also has a stabilising influence on the communities. A notable achievement here was the agreement with Jamaica to stop further land invasions," said Clive.

"The Land Claims settlement was another breakthrough because it allowed key projects to proceed.

"Also, the consolidation of land in Wiggins is progressing well, which will enable the land to be legally transferred to the new home owners in the area," he said.

Institutional Arrangements:
"Our partnership with the city was ill-defined, and vast amounts of time have been spent in defining this relationship. I am happy to report that the institutional arrangements are finally in place, our roles have been clarified and procedures are clear. The political and operational control of the RDP-funded projects has shifted to the Durban Metro, and we are effectively their agents. This should lead to better efficiencies and lay the foundations for speedier delivery," said Clive.

"The most significant event has been the signing of the financial agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Government, which was delayed for 12 months. This has made approximately R120 million available for Cato Manor projects. This money will be used for the construction of schools, roads, social facilities and economic development projects.

"Another major breakthrough was the approval of the Business Plan in October for the first phase of the projects to be funded by the EU money," said Clive.

"The Structure Plan has been through the public participation phase, and there has been a lot of useful input. We are now amending the Structure Plan for final approval in the New Year.

"There has also been a series of precinct plans put in place, including the University land, the Central Node, Chesterville Extension and preliminary work on Booth Road Central."

Training and Human Resources Development:
The foundations for a major effort in building human resources capacity has been laid. The following training programmes have either been run or are about to start:-

  • Leadership skills training
  • Training of creche mothers
  • Sport and cultural management
  • Construction skills training
  • Contractor development
  • Training of Development Committee Members

A home ownership education programme will begin in the New Year, and a job opportunity bureau has been established to improve access to economic opportunities.

1997 saw a lot of work being done by CMDA staff and consultants on no less than 90 projects which are destined to change the face of Cato Manor. Of these 90 projects, eight have been completed and another 16 are currently under construction.

Completed projects include the following:-

  • Old Dunbar Road Phase I.
  • SPCA Access Road.
  • Western Collector Road.
  • Housing Support Centre in the Fast Track
  • Umkhumbane Culvert
  • Cato Crest Collector Road Phase I.
  • Box Sewer in Old Dunbar.
  • Box Sewer in Cato Crest.

Projects currently under construction include the following:-

  • Chesterville Incremental Housing.
  • Wiggins/Umkhumbane Housing.
  • Fast Track Housing.
  • Chesterville Phases I and II (Housing).
  • Refurbishment of German Shepherd Club.
  • Clinic on Bellair Road.
  • Dromore and Horley Roads in Wiggins Umkhumbane.
  • Mayville Culvert.
  • Llandaff Road in Wiggins.
  • Footbridges in Cato Crest.
  • Umkhumbane River Canalisation.
  • Culverts in Bellair Rd, near SPCA and Francois Rd.
  • Chesterville Park.

Major projects scheduled to start in the first half of 1998 include:-

  • Upgrading of Bellair Road Phase I.
  • Major new road linking the N2 to the Pavilion, including a connection to Chesterville.
  • Construction of the Multi-Purpose Centre in Wiggins, which includes primary and secondary schools, a library and sportsfields.
  • Nsimbini Housing Project.

"In 1998 we want to see all those 90 projects that we have been working on actually built. I don't know if people are aware that a lot of work is done on a project before it reaches the construction phase. In fact the actual construction of a project comes right at the end, and it is often the easiest part of the job," said Clive.

Despite the fact that there were a number of noteworthy highlights, there were also some disappointments in 1997.

"A big disappointment this year is that we have not been able to get into a stable and productive working relationship with the Old Dunbar and Cato Crest community structures. We are dismayed at the lack of trust and the instability of the local leadership, and consequently we have not been able to build a team," said Clive.

"We had high hopes of getting the Cato Crest housing project started but we are in a deadlock."

He said the way forward was for the leadership to stabilise, and for a sound working relationship to be forged between the CMDA, the project team and the local community.

"There's no other way. A successful housing project, especially one that involves a lot of technical difficulties such as Cato Crest, can only come about through a partnership", said Clive.

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