The delivery of one of eThekwini’s major catalytic infrastructure development projects was set in full motion. all thanks to eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda who presided over a sod turning ceremony of the multimillion upgrade of the Point Watermain.
“I have performed a number of sod-turning ceremonies before but this one is special. It gives me great pleasure to be part of a moving vehicle, a project that is already off the ground. The upgrade of infrastructure is the hallmark of any development. This is a clear demonstration that we want our City to attract much needed investment,” said Mayor Kaunda.
The project, which is worth R250 million, is expected to create over 100 job opportunities. The project is going to affect Mahatma Gandhi and Anton Lembede Streets.
The development is scheduled to take a period of 18 months and will ensure adequate water supply provision for development in the Point Precinct such as the two multibillion-rand sky scrapers due to be constructed near the new promenade as well as the first phase of the R35 billion Point Waterfront launching in April.
Once the 4,1 kilometres of a continuous 800mm diameter steel pipeline is laid on the ground, the upgrade of sidewalks and public realms to world standards will commence.
Mayor Kaunda said this will also contribute to the inner-city rejuvenation that is expected to attract businesses to the Durban central business district (CBD).
The new public realm upgrades will further connect the Point Precinct and the City centre and will look to interface with the road edge connecting to the cruise terminal that is currently under construction. It will create a strong public edge which seamlessly integrates to this much needed investment in the inner city and especially the Point area.
“The inner-city is the heartbeat of eThekwini Municipality. As a result, we are not taking any chances. We are pulling all the stops to ensure that the CBD is rid of any decay. It is why we will invest R3 billion on catalytic projects in the next five years to accelerate the upgrade of infrastructure,” said Mayor Kaunda.
The Mayor said he is extremely happy for the considerable stride that the City has made to date to invest in infrastructure. “Over the last five years, a total of R1.2 billion was invested in the precinct-shared between public and private sector – with the public sector leading the investment by 59 percent as it should be in a regenerative environment,” said Mayor Kaunda.
He vowed that the perception that the Point Precinct is a heaven for drug den and brothels is gradually becoming history. According to Mayor Kaunda the private sector investment will over the next few years far outstrip investment made by government in this precinct.