New Drive to Link Mbombela & White River

Mbombela - The Mpumalanga government is on a drive to link the capital city Mbombela, formerly Nelspruit, to the nearby town of White River.

Finance MEC Madala Masuku said his department and that of Human Settlements will sign a memorandum of understanding with property developer HL Hall & Sons Properties to make the initiative a reality.

"The executive council has been briefed by Nelspruit-based property developer, HL Hall & Sons Properties, on the integrated human settlement project that will see huge development link both Mbombela and White River," said Masuku.

"The project will include a vast housing project that will have 828 middle income and 352 low cost houses, residential apartments, student accommodation and a parliamentary village."

Masuku added that the project is in line with the provincial government's goal to maximise economic and developmental potential around the new R10-billion University of Mpumalanga, which is expected to be built at the Lowveld Agricultural College in Mbombela.

The MEC said the provincial executive council gave the go-ahead for the linking project, which is also expected to create jobs during the construction of the multiple projects and bulk infrastructure.

"The parliamentary village will cater for members of the provincial legislature and some senior officials. On the other hand, the Mpumalanga Convention Centre will comprise the main amphitheatre, meeting rooms, halls and a clinic that could host big international events, while the student accommodation will cater for students that will be enrolling at the University of Mpumalanga," said Masuku.

Human Settlements MEC Andries Gamede said his department would be done with scoping the project before the end of September.

"The Mbombela local municipality will be on board as their responsibility is to maintain the infrastructure," he said.

Meanwhile, the first pool of students who will start their lessons in 2014 will be accommodated at the Agricultural College and the Siyabuswa College (formerly KwaNdebele College of Education). However, the construction of new buildings and infrastructure will only start following an Environmental Impact Assessment, which is expected to be completed by June 2014.

Mandla Khoza