Eastern Cape MEC for transport Xolile Nqatha (left) and resident Lubabalo Vumba at Jama village, outside Bizana.
Noxolo Notshili-Cabela from Jama Village, outside Mbizana, on the Wildcoast with Eastern Cape MEC for Transport Xolile Nqatha following the latter’s visit to families who were moved to make way for the N2 Wild Coast Road project.
The Eastern Cape government has promised to fast-track the relocation of the families who were moved to make way for the ambitious R8 billion N2 Wild Coast Road project.
Eastern Cape Transport MEC Xolile Nqatha led an 11-member delegation to Jama village, on Thursday, to try and iron out differences that have resulted in significant delays in the construction of the much-awaited N2 project.
Once completed, the project will reduce the travel time between Durban and East London by two hours.
Nqatha chairs the provincial government’s political oversight committee that has been tasked with overseeing the project and ensuring that the bottlenecks are dealt with to avoid further delays.
Nqatha spent the day visiting families who were removed from their homes to make way for the project.
“They were given temporary structures and some of them had their houses rebuilt. We wanted to check if the work is going well and how they are adjusting,” said Nqatha.
Nqatha said that while the South African National Roads Agency took steps to address some of the community’s issues, the provincial government remained, “deeply concerned that some of the families remain in temporary structures since 2019”.
He blamed the delay in the relocation on several factors, including the strike that led to the main contractor abandoning the project and also COVID-19.
Villager Noxolo Notshili-Cabela, 39, said she only hoped the project would resume soon.
“We wish to benefit from the project in terms of getting employment. There is a high level of unemployment here,” she said.
Notshili-Cabela is among the community members who were removed from their homes to give way to the project.
She lives with her family in a temporary structure.
“We want to carry on with our lives and we are of the view that should the project start, many community members will benefit,” she said.
Another villager Lubabalo Vumba said the N2 project was his only hope of improving his life.
The 37-year-old villager is unemployed and living with his mother and his siblings.
“My dream is to have my own family. This project is my only ticket out of poverty,” he said.
MEC Nqatha and his team will, on Friday, meet with other stakeholders like traditional leaders, the business community and community leaders to make sure that the project is back on track.
“Any stoppage is quite costly to the government as construction companies charge for standing time which totals millions of rands. As a government we can no longer afford that going forward,” said Nqatha.