“Engineering a better planned tomorrow”

By: Diba Nkume

A two days Investor Conference held in Umzimvubu Local Municipality’s Sophia Recreational Park and other parts of it was held successfully. On the 17th and 18th of March 2016 the two towns of Umzimvubu Local Municipality KwaBhaca and EmaXesibeni, formerly known as Mount Frere and Mount Ayliff consecutively were buzzing with interested potential investors from all corners of South Africa. The conference which emanated from Umzimvubu’s Development Precinct Plans, linked to the idea of Revenue Enhancement and upgrading of the Municipality grading to better grades was graced by the presence of the Honourable Deputy Minister for Finance Mcebisi Jonas, MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism amongst a lot more other Public and Private Sector representatives.

The conference started with an interesting tour around potential development nodal points in Umzimvubu which include Pakade Junction, Phuthi Junction and ended on a good jovial note in Ntenetyana Dam where members of the community were involved and most hours of Thursday, the 17th were spent. One of the Conference Delegates and a potential investor Thobani Msimang applauded the Municipality for such an initiative, highlighting the commitment which the Municipality Management, led by Mr. Tobela Nota and Council by Mayor Khulukazi Phangwa have shown to this programme. “A broader insight and development in the Eastern Cape is what is needed and this is where it starts, with such initiatives,” he said. Aggressive and brave leadership is what he said was also needed by the Municipality. The Deputy Minister Jonas raised the issue of proactive development of the former towns of the then Transkei region saying that it is time this region raises the bar and showing itself to the rest of the world. “Development is not in offices, but it lies within minds that take a critical approach and futuristic planning such as conferences of this nature, where engagements and negotiations between local chiefs, land owners and potential investors,” said Jonas.

Taxi ranks, malls, fuel stations, office parks, middle and high income houses form part of the precinct plans which the Municipality (As part of its 15 Year Vision 2030), aligned to the National and Provincial Development Plans seek to achieve.

Engagements and interactions were made between the Municipality Local, Provincial and National delegates of which some of them were born, bred and buttered in the Municipality but are residing in big cities in search of greener pastures. Municipal employees who invested much of their precious time in preparing for this conference were applauded for their tireless work towards the success of this vision including a team that refers to itself as the Friends of Vision 2030 led by the institutions Chief Financial Officer Xoliswa Venn, Infrastructure Manager Sandi Ntonga and Senior Town Planner Siyanda Ntshikilana.

The fruits of this initiative are yet to be seen and it is envisaged that it will bear the richest fruits.