Upgrades in Soweto

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Major housing developments, massive road and stormwater drain construction, bridges and a new clinic are some of the city of Joburg’s projects underway in Region D, Soweto.

The city outlined its multimillion-rand budget for the various projects across Soweto to more than 300 residents who packed the Diepkloof Hall on Tuesday evening.

Residents of Diepkloof and surrounding areas came out in droves to participate in the city of Joburg’s integrated development planning (IDP) feedback session.

The session offered the city a chance to report back on issues raised by residents at the IDP session in April.

These issues included housing, stormwater drains, hostel maintenance, youth empowerment and street names.

In his presentation, regional director in the area Patrick Lephunya announced that many projects were taking shape in Soweto.

More than R15m has been budgeted for the Lufhereng integrated housing development, with construction already taking place.

An additional R35m has been set aside for the construction of a bridge and access road for Ward 24. A state-of-the-art multipurpose centre is being constructed for the Klipspruit community to the tune of R38m, while the Kliptown taxi rank is undergoing a R7.2m upgrade and is 95% complete.

One resident raised a concern about the stormwater problems in Soweto, which often led to homes being flooded during the rainy season.

Lephunya responded by saying the city was investing a lot of money in building and upgrading stormwater drains.

He said about R15m was allocated for the building of a stormwater drainage system in Protea Glen and wards 13, 35, 38 and 42. The first phase of the project had been successfully completed and phase two had commenced.

Residents also raised other issues such as the high cost of pre-paid water and electricity, asking for a flat rate from the city, illegal dumping, potholes, inaccessible community halls and poorly maintained parks.

Lephunya assured residents that the city was working furiously to address these issues and pointed to other projects happening within the region as examples of progress.

“Residents of Noordgesig will be excited to know that they will be getting a new clinic, with the construction of the project already at 85% completion. About R16m has been budgeted for the clinic,” Lephunya said.

“The Noordgesig library is getting a complete makeover, with about R25m budgeted for the project.”

Lephunya described the Jabulani precinct as a beacon of integrated development not only in Soweto but in Johannesburg as a whole.

“Right now, there are many developments happening in Soweto. The Jabulani precinct is proving to be one of the fastest-developing areas in Soweto and in Joburg,” Lephunya said.

In the Jabulani precinct, phase two of the construction of the Jabulani transit-oriented development is about 95% complete, with phase three of the project set to begin soon. The first phase of the project has been completed. About R9m has been budgeted for the project.

The city’s work in this precinct is supported by other private developments taking places such as the Jabulani flats and the Jabulani Crossing mall.

Although a budget has not yet been allocated, the historic Jabulani Amphitheatre is also earmarked for an upgrade.

Lephunya said Soweto was the largest region in Joburg, with an estimated population of more than 1.1 million people.

This means Soweto accounts for about 43% of the entire Joburg population.

He said this presented complex challenges and opportunities.

ntombin@thenewage.co.za

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