Revival of Ou Boks Housing Project

After years of delay, the revival of the stalled Ou Boks Housing Project seems to be under way at last. According to the Umsobomvu Municipality, a contractor is due to take over the derelict site before mid-November 2023.

According to recent statements on social media, the current contracts are for building 50 BNG houses in Ou Boks, and upgrading the Kuyasa Sports Ground.

Once the site has been established, a community liaising officer (CLO) as well as skilled labourers, general labourers and subcontractors will be recruited.

Members of the public are to be updated at ward-based community meetings as well as on social and print media platforms.

In what seems to be the first step in this process, community members have been invited to an ‘introduction meeting’ with contractors for the current two projects, to be held in the Kuyasa Community Hall on 10 November.

Toverview’s feature writer, Phakamisa Mayaba, recently wrote that, begun in 2006 as a priority presidential project, Ou Boks was meant for the relocation of people in Old Location, thereby making way for the redevelopment of Old Location as well. However, the project gradually fell apart, leaving behind 80 ‘roofless, gutted shells’. According to Mayaba, this has had far-reaching consequences for the Colesberg community, worsening an acute housing shortage, and causing disillusionment and bitterness among residents (read his feature here).

The current developments follow a visit to Colesberg by the minister of human settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi, in November last year. After inspecting the Ou Boks project, she assured the community at meeting in the Toto Mayaba Stadium, that the government would intervene.

According to the municipality, the minister undertook to initiate an investigation of the Ou Boks Housing Project. A directive was given to the NHBRC to prepare a forensic report on all incomplete structures and slabs. The investigation has been concluded and will be handed over to the municipality.

More recently, a team comprising the municipal manager, district housing officials, a representative of the NHBRC and representatives of the consultants and constructors conducted a site visit prior to handing over the site for the construction of 50 BNG houses.

  • It is still unclear whether the contractors will attempt to rebuilt some of the 80 derelict houses, or build 50 new BNG houses from scratch. It is also unclear whether labourers and subcontractors will be recruited locally. Toverview will continue to scrutinise this important project, and report on these and other issues.
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