The George Municipality has once again achieved a first. Following the receipt of the Western Cape Govan Mbeki Human Settlements Award in May of this year, George has now been awarded the National Govan Mbeki Award for 2014 for the Thembalethu Housing project.
This is the first time the George Municipality has entered this competition and the judging takes into account the ability of George Council to manage projects, beneficiary lists and perform clean financial administration is also taken into account.
The George Municipality’s Deputy -Director for Human Settlements, Land Affairs, and Planning, Mr Thys De Beer accepted the award for “Best Informal Settlement (Thembalethu) Upgraded Project of the Year” at a glittering function held in Johannesburg on 14th August, which was hosted by National Minister of Human Settlements, Hon Lindiwe Sisulu.
Executive Mayor for George, Charles Standers congratulated the department on their success. “ Winning the regional as well as national award proves that George Municipality is at the forefront in terms of participating in the upliftment of our communities. This unique well-managed project is a deserving winner.”
The innovative approach of the George Municipal Thembalethu housing project, is that an unconventional dual process was followed which combined two service delivery programs i.e the Upgrading of Informal Settlement Programme (UISP) and Access to Basic Services (ABS). George Municipality is one of very few municipalities in the country which has fulfilled its constitutional obligations in terms of the delivering of basic services to all of its communities as prescribed in the constitution of South Africa.
The UISP provides sites with permanent services to families and is programmed to be implemented over a period of seven years. In order to prevent those families who would only be assisted in the later phase of the UISP project from living without basic services for a period of between 2 and 7 years, a decision was taken to run the ABS program parallel to the UISP project. Therefore all 4500 families living in the various informal settlement pockets in Thembalethu now have access to basic services, water and sanitation facilities, while waiting for their turn to receive a serviced site, of which they will become the owner.
The Municipal Manager, Trevor Botha reiterated that the George Municipality as a whole always try to walk that extra mile and in so doing inevitably create opportunities to establish best practice projects in our efforts to provide basic municipal services to our communities.
The Western Cape’s Department Provincial Minister of Human Settlements, Mr Bonginkosi Madikizelaextended his heartfelt congratulations to the winners. “We look forward to building relations and partnerships with those concerned. We would also like to ensure the combined efforts of all in yielding a successful delivery of integrated human settlements to our communities.”
The contest is a part of the annual Govan Mbeki Awards which showcases best practice in the human settlements sector, creates healthy competition and is used as a monitoring tool to ensure delivery. The awards provide motivation to all stakeholders in the Human Settlements sphere and honour the role players in the housing value chain including building contractors, the banking sector, community based organisations and building material suppliers that have committed to partner with government in building sustainable human settlements.
The awards were named after Govan Mbeki in 2006 based on the role he played in human settlements of partnering with key stakeholders in order to continue building a nation free of inequality.