The community of Endlovini informal settlements in Khayelitsha have praised the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) organisation for its efforts to improve and develop the area after a R4.5 million multi-functional community facility was unveiled on Saturday May 27.
The facility includes a hall, an early childhood development room, a covered courtyard, neighbourhood watch base office, an office for the City’s outreach programmes, a caretaker’s flat, ablutions, office space for NGO’sto render social services, and a netball/basketball court.
A food garden is also being established.
The aim of the organisation is to uplift impoverished communities by establishing required services and facilities and providing safe spaces for children and young people.
VPUU community facilitator in Endlovini, Thamsanqa Nkwenkwezi, said for many years residents and community leaders had been pleading for a centre like this one, and finally their pleas have been heard.
Mr Nkwenkwezi said the centre would play a pivotal role in providing a platform for young people to showcase their talent and derail them from participating in criminal activities.
He said this was second facility which had been built in this community. “We are slowly but surely making progress in this community. We want to make the living conditions better. I appeal to the residents to protect this facility as we know that we are battling with the issues of vandalism in the area,” he said.
He said the organisation signed a memorandum of agreement with the City of Cape Town in 2009 which included short-, medium- and long-term plans to develop the area in conjunction with the City.
He said part of the short-term plans they had was to develop local businesses and provide them with skills and training to further expand their businesses.
Among other things, he said, they wanted to equip residents with skills so that they could improve their chances of getting employment.
Mr Nkwenkwezi said their ultimate mission was to ensure that people were living in decent houses.
The City’s mayoral committee member for area east, Anda Ntsodo, said the real change and progress happened when people came together to share experiences and develop a shared vision for their lives and their neighbourhood. Mr Ntsodo said a meeting space was crucial for all communities and this was a world-class meeting space that had been created in Monwabisi Park. “Just as water, sewerage and public safety are considered essential community services, the centre is vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in this community, ensuring the health of families and youth, and contributing to the economic and environmental well-being of the community. I urge the community to take ownership of the facility and to ensure that it remains well cared for and accessible to all,” he said. Resident Sicelo Zikizela said the facility would provide young people with extramural activities and heaped praised on VPUU.