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Singaphi Street unlocks a vibrant township economy

Newbrighton Township Economy 2

UPGRADE: Business owners in Singaphi Street, New Brighton are improving their properties.

The R40 million Singaphi Street environmental upgrade programme in New Brighton is unlocking a vibrant township economy for the precinct, the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) announced today.

The Singaphi Street development in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth is a strategic programme creating continuity between Route 67 in the inner city and the Red Location Museum in New Brighton. The precinct is especially rich in arts, culture, heritage and the liberation struggle..

“New Brighton’s Singaphi Street is seen as a catalyst project in terms of township development aligned to the public participation processes initiated in the inner city,” said Luvuyo Bangazi, MBDA spokesman.

“The upgrade, which commenced in 2014, introduced new infrastructure delivery and public art programmes following  the MBDA’s philosophy that downstream investment, job creation and local economic development follows after public sector urban upgrading investment,” he said.

Bangazi said the results of MBDA’s latest economic barometer, which includes both formal economic impact assessment evaluations and two distinct surveys polling confidence levels of businesses and residents – revealed:

• a higher number of property owners and residents are making improvements to business premises and residences in New Brighton;

• from a local economic development perspective, businesses and SMME’s near the Singaphi Street development increased turn-over with 15% in the last year; and

• approximately 25% of surveyed businesses indicated that they were planning to make improvements to their properties in the near future versus 20% in the previous year.

Both businesses and residents indicated that the overall upgrades were viewed in a highly positive light with 86.8% of all respondents indicating either an extremely positive (14.3%) or positive (72.5%) response. Residents proved to be notably more positive about the upgrades than businesses with 88.7% indicating either an extremely positive (14.3%) or positive (74.4%) response.

Of the businesses in the area, 30% indicated that they had hired additional staff. This is double the 15% recorded in the previous year. Respondents to the 2016 Barometer also reported an either slight or significant increase in turnover, which increased from 30% in 2014 to 45% in 2015.

Abdul Rahman Sheikh Mohamed who works in his family’s spaza shop in Singaphi Street says since the upgrade in the street, upgrades to the shop was also made. “They have paved in front of the shop and made space for people to sit here. People now also have a nice place to park their cars when they come to the shop,” he said.

Rosa Mdevulane who has been living in Singaphi Street for more than 50 years says she enjoys the upgrade in the street. “Before we had to cut the grass growing on the sidewalk in front of our house but since they have paved the sidewalk we don’t cut grass any more. You can see there is a change in the community since the upgrade of Singaphi Street, the children now play in the parks instead of in the street,” Mdevulane said.

Athandazile Kolisi, assistant netball coach for Jarvis Gqamlana Primary school said “establishing this netball court means that we have easier access to a facility to practice.” Kolisi said the court is also utilised by the Early Bird Netball team.

The total value invested by New Brighton business and residential property owners into properties over a two year period was R8 million. Bangazi said the second phase of Singaphi Street, the gateway to the Red Location Museum, was completed by MBDA during its past financial year.

Work comprised the completion of the Road from Sandla Street to 7th Street, completion of kerbs, sidewalks and landscaping, including a netball court as per designs developed by the community and realised through the Workplace Consortium. Extensive soil drains and layer work was also required to manage storm water runoff in the area.

The objective of this project is to develop a unique precinct and potential economic node, which can support the creative economy rooted in the art, culture and heritage of the area.

Issued by Meropa Communications on behalf of the Mandela Bay Development Agency.