Although Mr. D. Nkosi, (‘Doctor”), the Head of the Planning Department of Nkomazi Municipality, was delayed and could only arrive at the meeting scheduled to commence at 12:00, 87 minutes later, it was very clear to attendees that the Planning Department is hands-on on what is ongoing in Komatipoort, and that municipality applies it’s mind to the development of the town. It is clear that if Komatipoort suffers from infrastructural challenges, that certainly is not a matter where the accountability or blame for that crisis would lie on the level and in hands of the Planning Department. The meeting noted that Doctor Nkosi and his department certainly has expertise. Comprehensively, Doctor Nkosi disclosed, that from municipality’s side the following developments are eminent in Komatipoort:
· South of the N4, across the dry-port development, municipality already started off a township establishment, and the initial phases and pre-work pertaining to this development is done. 60 hectares will be availed soon by means of the township proclamation, to all interested parties, with a light industrial character. Warehousing and similar businesses could be established here, and land could be acquired by interested parties by means private treaty (receiving title deeds). This development will also link with the info center, which is destined to be opened within the 6 months. (In as far as the Info Center is concerned, on the N4, municipality will invite business on private sector level to also engage in the roll-out of the info center, and in the renting of space in this particular building, for commercial purposes. NECCTA will be duly informed and will form part of the publication process, in as far as the info center is concerned)
· Across the township establishment of the 60 hectares of industrial land, on the other side of the N4 the Dry-Port is a private development, where the development is done by a private company. The private company leases property from public works, and the township establishment in as far as this is concerned has been done, on that level, in – between the developer and Department Public Works. What remains to be done in as far as that development is concerned, is an agreement in as far as infrastructure and bulk services might be relevant, with municipality, a matter that enjoys attention. The development of infrastructure would be for the account of the developer, and not be borne by municipality. This is an expensive exercise and municipality could not comment how long it might take for development to effectively create roads and avail services.
· Doctor Nkosi also explained that the main entrance of the town will see a development of SANRAL, with by – pass in as far as it is relevant. NECCTA was advised to invite SANRAL to a meeting, to discuss with them the main entrance of the town. Doctor Nkosi learned that NECCTA has a meeting with TRAC on the 13th June 2013, to discuss amongst others the main entrance, during that meeting, and advised that SANRAL should also be a part of that meeting, to make it a sensible meeting. NECCTA will make effort to invite SANRAL then to the very same meeting, and if possible also a delicate from the Department of Planning of Nkomazi Municipality.
· Komatipoort X7, is the area in between Rissik street, where one enters the town, and is situated in between Rissik street, where Supaquick is situated, and the cemetery. These stands are already industrial zoned plots, and will be availed in the market soon, for interested parties to buy by means of a closed bid offering. The conditions eminent would be that reserved prices need to be met, by proposing buyers, and that development on the land acquired need to commence within 6 months, failing which the transactions could be cancelled and be declared null and void.
· If one leaves Komatipoort, on the left hand side in between the main road towards Crocodile bridge entrance into the Kruger Park, and the existing low cost housing development known as Orlando, a social housing development is envisaged by municipality. This will entail medium cost housing, of a high density character.
· Another initiative of the municipality is an additional 1000 plots, being established by means of township establishment, adjacent to Orlando, on the area of land neighboring Orlando, as one passes the railway line on the way to Crocodile bridge entrance (KNP) on the left hand side of the road, Western side of the road.
The refuse site will be relocated to a central point, and a transferring site will be made available for Komatipoort residence and consumers, from where refuse will be taken to the dedicated site (Steenbok).
Doctor Nkosi explained that these developments are all embarked upon already, but they are all part of a long term plan of the municipality. Time frames are not always possible but Doctor Nkosi explained that the development of the 60 hectares south of the N4 is a priority to the municipality and that the industrial plots Komatipoort X7 would soon see light.
The meeting also noted that in Suid-Dorp, Department of Public Works combined 24 plots with a street closure, and the Department of Public Works envisages a development of medium cost housing, a high density development, on these plots, providing accommodation means for all government employees. It is uncertain how long this program would take to be perfected.
The meeting then touched the infrastructural challenges in Komatipoort, foremost electricity and water supply. NECCTA already addresses these matters in separate meetings, and it was confirmed by the Head of the Planning Section, Doctor Nkosi, that these challenges are relevant, and also will be relevant in as far as it relates to the so called Special Economic Zones, development in close conjunction with National Government of those programmes. A meeting in between the Komatipoort public and the Department of Economic Planning and Sector Development as well as the Department of Economic Development and Environment and Tourism seems crucial, and the initiative of NECCTA to invite the project coordinator of this Special Economic Zones to Komatipoort was noted a very good idea. Business people are encouraged to attend that meeting, to acquaint themselves with what the programme entails and how Komatipoort could best benefit from that programme, and so then also private sector.
Questions from the floor answered also by the convener Engelbrecht evidenced that Engelbrecht himself is well informed of all these developments and challenges, and a source of information in the midst of Komatipoort, due to him being a property consultant and local property attorney. The overall experience, of all attendees, is that they have been well informed by Doctor Nkosi and NECCTA of the town challenges, and could do better planning for the future, given all the information.
NECCTA encouraged all local business owners and tourism product owners to send their information to the webmaster of the town portal, so that all business and products could be properly captured by the webmaster, also capturing all the email and mobile telephone numbers of Komatipoort inhabitants. It could be sent to email@example.com .This will serve as an enabling means for NECCTA to communicate all the information through to everybody relevant in the town, and who has interest in developing in Komatipoort, and to inform all of the NECCTA activities. Information will be shared and not regarded as the private property of any single person, but as community property.
Jan Engelbrecht, on behalf of Neccta, thanked Doctor Nkosi for his valuable input. Engelbrecht could be contacted on 0827845682 or firstname.lastname@example.org