Success story

Message from eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Councillor Obed Mlaba

The Cato Manor Development Project (CMDP) is a great success story – not only for Durban, but also in the history of the re-development of South Africa. The Cato Manor Development Association (CMDA) has been the main locus of development initiatives in Cato Manor. Its mandate since the early 1990s has been to plan and implement an integrated development programme that redresses the imbalances created by the apartheid regime, against a background of life-threatening problems like violence and unrest.

Cato Manor has always been driven by the community. Even in its glory days, it was a people’s place. This spirit has prevailed through all the development phases and once again the people of Cato Manor have become a community.

One of the ongoing tragedies of this landmark project is that the business community has been very slow to buy in to it. There is still a lot of work to be done on the business front. From the word go, the CMDA and the eThekwini Municipality, especially the Housing Service Unit, have worked hand-in-hand to develop skills and capacity and have formed solid partnerships. The European Union has expressed its delight with the success of the CMDP and wants to replicate it in other areas, precisely because it does not merely create a housing development – it builds a community.

We all know that we have only laid the foundation and that Cato Manor still has a long way to go, but I am confident that it can now stand on its own as a valuable part of the eThekwini Metro family.

A model for development

Message from the Chairman of the CMDA Board, Willies Mchunu

Given the scale of investment and the range of interventions that have taken place in Cato Manor since 1994, the CMDP is destined to become a model for development and urban regeneration. Perhaps more important is that today the people of Cato Manor have access to land, shelter, basic services, social facilities and economic opportunities. Previously marginalised people are becoming active and empowered citizens of Durban and Cato Manor is integrating with adjacent suburbs and the wider metropolitan area.

These achievements have been made possible through the contribution and commitment of a range of players. Alongside CEO Clive Forster and his staff, I would personally like to thank the eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Councillor Obed Mlaba and his officials, members of the Metropolitan Special Presidential Projects Committee (MSPPC), the European Union (EU) and especially its resident representatives, as well as numerous members and representatives of the Cato Manor community and individuals from the NGO and CBO sectors. All these people have made an invaluable contribution to the success of the CMDP, many without additional remuneration. Together, their resolve has kept the development of Cato Manor moving forward, sometimes in the face of difficult obstacles.

Our State President, Thabo Mbeki, declared 2002 the Year of Volunteerism and all kinds of people have shown themselves willing to roll up their sleeves and make things happen in Cato Manor. The challenge ahead is to ensure that the momentum is maintained – especially the social upliftment and economic growth initiatives.

The CMDA is currently preparing for its closure while putting systems into place to ensure long-term sustainability. Given the capability and determination of all stakeholders over the past nine years, I am confident of the successful transfer of the CMDA into the eThekwini Municipality and of continued growth into the future.

In 2002 the CMDP was identified as a Best Practice Project by the United Nations High Commission for Settlements, confirming its status as one of South Africa’s leading developments. While it is important to celebrate our achievements, we must remain focused on the work that still needs to be done. Urgent and targeted interventions which address the needs of the poor are crucial. We must all work towards restoring an equitable and just society across Durban.

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