The vision for late former president Nelson Mandela's hometown, the village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, to be developed into a state-of-the-art city, has flopped, five years after the initiation of a project by the provincial department of human settlements.
That is according to the Democratic Alliance (DA) who claim that the project has cost taxpayers millions of rand, with nothing to show for it.
In a statement, DA MPL Sanele Maqaqa said the project was initiated in 2012 by the then Human Settlements MEC Helen Sauls-August.
Maqaqa said the aim of this project was to create “an international special purpose city” on the theme “A Reflection on Humanity”. "Qunu City was going to be the first modern city built by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) government to honour Mandela’s legacy and increase economic activity in the area.
The plans were to see Qunu grazing land turned into a buzzing city with hotels, banks, tourism accommodation facilities, an international leadership college and conferencing facilities."
Maqaqa said that five years later, tens of millions of rand had been spent on consultants and the project now has now been scrapped as it "became evident that there was no possible hope of it ever reaching fruition".
During a parliamentary committee meeting on human settlements in the provincial legislature this week, it was revealed that over R46-million has been allocated to the project since 2013, he said.
"With an estimated cost of billions, those in favour of the project said donors and investors would assist with providing sufficient budget for the project. However, when questioned about the investments received, the Department admitted that there was no information of funds raised through donations."
Mqaqa said further concerns were identified, including the lack of buy-in from other departments, resulting in human settlements being forced to shoulder the financial burden alone. He said that the department was unable to produce the feasibility report, despite over R4.8-million having been paid for it. According to Mqaqa the money allocated to the project over the past five years could have delivered around 300 new RDP houses.