Rietspruit Farm finally allocated for housing

GK CRONJE

15 September 2020

Rietspruit Farm was also the star of a dodgy deal saga, that involved the DOHS state security minister, one Bongani Bongo. At the time, Bongo was the head of legal at Mpumalanga DOHS, where Rietspruit Farm was purchased by the department for a whopping R36 million. It came to light that the farm was actually valued at a mere R12 million.

In a surprising turn of events, Rietspruit Farm near Ermelo (also known as Extension 44), has been allocated by the Department of Human Settlements (DOHS) to house nearly 5 000 housing units. This flagship project was recently officiated by Msukaligwa Local Municipality’s executive mayor, Cllr. Mkhaliphi, during a sod-turning ceremony. Gert Sibande District Municipality GSDM) regional planning unveiled that a reported 5 760 stands will be made available, with an estimated 4 000 mixed housing opportunities. Plans for more than 600 rental units were also mentioned. The project will be constructed on portion 6 of the site. Residential, retail and parks were touted as the main attraction, and water, sewage and roads infrastructure will be made available by DOHS. According to available information, DOHS purchased the land, and it was handed to MLM for the purpose of this development. DOHS will also appoint town planners to spearhead the development.

This development did not come to pass without its fair share of woes and unrest from the community, who invaded the land in 2018. Thousands of residents flocked to the site to mark and measure out their stands, as word was passed around that development was planned at the site. Rietspruit Farm was also the star of a dodgy deal saga, that involved the DOHS state security minister, one Bongani Bongo. At the time, Bongo was the head of legal at Mpumalanga DOHS, where Rietspruit Farm was purchased by the department for a whopping R36 million. It came to light that the farm was actually valued at a mere R12 million, and the Hawks pounced with an extensive investigation. Bongo was later axed due to several reasons, which included failure to deliver on RDP housing and allegations of politicking. He has, however, been reintegrated into parliament, where he now faces charges of corruption and bribery involving Eskom and state capture. The Rietspruit Farm allocation has been a sleeper since 2011, and is seemingly finally been brought to potential by the DOHS.

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