KCT ‘remains committed to Khayelitsha’

Khayelitsha Community Trust (KCT) chief executive officer Mkhululi Gaula addressing stakeholders at the KCT AGM on Friday January 25. Seated far left is KCT chairperson Bulelwa Bela-Toni.

The Khayelitsha Community Trust (KCT) says it remains committed to Khayelitsha as a whole and not just one stakeholder.

This was after the organisation’s interest in the people of the area was questioned at the annual general meeting, held at Isivivana on Friday January 25.

The Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) was critical of what they say is the snail’s space of development by KCT.

KDF deputy chairperson Thandi Msutu said she was not happy with KCT.

However, KCT chairperson Bulelwa Bela-Toni denied that the individuals working at the organisation were not interested in the demands of Khayelitsha and challenged them to look at their previous year’s work.

Ms Bela-Toni also said people need to know that some of the issues were outside of KCT’s control.

She said infrastructure and community development are two different things.

She said the economy has not been good and that many investors are reluctant to commit not only to Khayelitsha but to the country.

“We are not comfortable (with the accusations) that we have not been delivering. But we are very committed to meaningful participation. We just need to improve further. We have the interest of Khayelitsha at heart. Together we can build Khayelitsha to part of the entire country, to be part of the city of Cape Town. We just need to polish our work. It is not that we sit on our laurels and do nothing. The economy has not been good,” she told the journalists after the AGM.

Among other things raised by those who gathered at Isivavana was the enclosure of the Khayelitsha mall to protect shoppers from the weather and the potholes at the mall.

But KTC said it has been steadily reintroducing projects at the mall. It said it has started with a storage facility for the informal traders.

“The mall worries us too. We want it to be enclosed. It is performing well. It must look attractive but we are starting with the informal traders. Yes we want the mall to be different to what it is now. People must know that we are a responsible board. Do we have to stay in Khayelitsha to have the interest of a black person? No, we have done a lot for this Khayelitsha,” said Ms Bela-Toni.

She said a key focus now is to steer Khayelitsha towards being a great township.

She said it was strange that KDF wants to have meetings with them only now because they have agreed to meet four times in a year but they have never honoured a single meeting.

KCT chief executive officer Mkhululi Gaula said meetings with KDF had never materialised. He said Khayelitsha comes first to them.

Mr Gaula said there is currently development that is coming up, with the building of a private hospital.

He said construction will be starting in September and the people of Khayelitsha will directly benefit from this. just like they have been befitting in all the developments of Khayelitsha.

But the unhappy KDF deputy chair, Ms Msutu said KCT have been telling them the same story every year. “This is not about KDF but Khayelitsha. We are not happy. We have been talking about the mall every year but nothing is happening or has happened. We are frustrated with the way Khayelitsha looks. Development must move. We cannot be discussing one thing all the time. And they cannot wait for the AGM to tell us that they are struggling. We are always here,” she said.

Ms Msutu admitted that the meetings with KCT failed but said it was the responsibility of both parties.

She, however, said this time they will meet for the sake of the development of Khayelitsha. She said the people of Khayelitsha have always wanted a closed mall to counter the inclement weather Khayelitsha is exposed to.

KCT is primarily responsible for the development of the Khayelitsha Central Business District (CBD) while KDF is an apolitical forum which was formed by the community of Khayelitsha with the intention of helping to regulate and manage the interests and concerns of the community as a whole. It is a forum which is intended to be totally inclusive of all aspects of the community.