Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille gave the R14 million Khayelitsha Training Centre building the thumbs up, but expressed her disappointment at the facility’s lack of ramps for disabled people.
The centre, opposite Bulumko High School, was officially opened on Thursday October 5.
Ms De Lille said when the City launched the Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme (MURP) five years ago, they wanted to ensure that communities like Khayelitsha, which had little to no development under apartheid, were prioritised and benefited from the Cape Town economy.
She said the programme was aimed at introducing sustainable systems of operations, and the maintenance of public infrastructure and facilities.
Ms De Lille said they were aware of the need to invest more in areas such as Khayelitsha to enhance economic growth and uplift communities. She said the building had been widely used by non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders and was a one-stop-shop for Khayelitsha residents to access not only City amenities, but also services provided by other organisations. “We want this building to be inclusive. People living with disabilities should not feel excluded. I want ramps to be built here as a matter of a urgency,” she said.
Ms De Lille said the training centre had already made a positive impact in terms of service delivery. She said some people had to travel long distances for assistance.
“The community is now receiving services closer to their residential areas as this project is providing assistance to residents in 12 wards. The new building forms part of our broader investment in Khayelitsha.
Pauline Perez, the centre manager of Nonceba Family Counselling, said they had been privileged to be allowed to use the facility for the past two years. She highlighted that township communities deserved facilities like this and hoped that this was not the last such facility to be built in Khayelitsha. Freddi Sidali, assistant director of the Khayelitsha office of the South African Social Service Agency (SASSA), said before the training centre was built they had been forced to host their workshops in the city centre, but now that was a thing of the past.
He said they were proud that they had been allowed to use this facility and make it easy for their people to access their services.