Funding challenges are hampering the operations of the Eastern Cape Provincial Heritage Resource Authority (ECPHRA) and are causing a frustrating knock-on effect on the economy and development of the Eastern Cape.
ECPHRA Permit Committees, based in Port Elizabeth, East London and Queenstown have not been meeting regularly which has caused major backlogs for investors and developers wanting to renovate or build on existing premises older than 60 years.
The DA’s vision for the Eastern Cape is a place where a forward-thinking, caring government must attract, rather than frustrate and chase away potential development.
In a reply to a legislature question I asked in the MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture , Pemmy Majodina, she admitted that as of April 2016 ECPHRA has not been fully functional, due to “the transitional funding arrangement for ECPHRA in which the Department ceased to transfer the ECPHRA annual budget allocation, opting for creating an enabling environment for ECPHRA to conduct all its procurement and payment processes from within the Department".
This decision has prevented, not enabled to Heritage Authority to perform its role. The MEC said a task team had been set up to make ECPHRA fully functional, but no timeframes were given.
This is totally unacceptable as these delays lead to unnecessary friction between investors, builders, business and the town planning departments of municipalities.
It must be remembered that members of the Permit Committees are volunteers. These are experts who give of their time and should be treated with a great deal more respect than they have been afforded in the past. They have been put under enormous pressure in their private capacities.
I have written to the MEC to urge her to ensure that the Permit Committees reconvene with urgency and meet regularly. Clear time frames must also be set for the task team to restore the functionality of the ECPHRA.
A well-run provincial government would ensure that it is supportive and enables its people to access opportunities.
Issued by: Ross Purdon (MPL) - Shadow MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture - Friday, 14 October 2016