Overstrand Municipal Council resolved at an ordinary council meeting held on 28 September 2022, that the Land Availability Agreement (LAA) between itself and the Provincial Department of Human Settlements (DoHS) be ceased.
This decision was prompted by a meeting between Minister Tertuis Simmers and Mayor Rabie held on 12 September 2022 where agreement was reached owing to a number of key factors, including the appointment of a turn key implementing agent to manage the project until completion.
The latter decision was further supported by the fact that the Provincial Government is currently restructuring its departments and Human Settlements will become part of the new Department of Infrastructure.
Several key personnel have left the employ of the Department which will have a negative impact on the continued implementation of the Schulphoek project in its current form.
In fact, the view is held that, as there was no significant movement on the project since the new council was elected in November 2021 as well as the two years prior to that, something drastic is needed to give impetus to it. Hence the decision to appoint an independent and competent turn key implementing agent whose operations will not be hampered by governmental red tape.
The appointment process of the implementing agent will commence as soon as the Municipality receives written confirmation from DoHS.
It is important to note that the procurement process is an administrative function that does not involve councillors as councillors are forbidden to interfere in any bidding process and decisions.
Once the implementing agent is appointed, the management and the implementation of the project will revert to them with Council only playing an oversight role.
This is important as the public should be made aware that they must refrain from contacting the councillors regarding any issue about the Schulphoek project as they have done in the past.
Mayor Rabie reiterated the last point in the council meeting and stated quite clearly that going forward, the project will be managed without any political interference as it becomes an administrative function.
“We are aware that there are a number of purported stakeholders that are not in agreement with the latest decision, but then again, they were also not in support of the LAA in February 2022. Their dissatisfaction is noted for the moment as we will not entertain any further correspondence on the matter as we need to allow the administration to focus on the appointment of an implementing agent,” the Mayor said.
Finally, Mayor Rabie expressed her hope that, as none of the previous efforts to kickstart this project were successful, the opposite will be achieved with the assistance of an appropriate, independent service provider.