The Independent Development Trust (IDT) is making a major difference through the implementation of strategic projects, which will help shape current and future societies that are integrated, inclusive and equipped with the skills to compete in the local and international arena.

The rule of law is the foundation on which all democratic societies are built and, in this area, South Africa is recognised globally as one of the most progressive nations. For this reason, providing community access to legal centres is a priority. In this respect, the IDT has been rolling out a number of new magistrates’ courts that excel in terms of architectural design and provide a lasting statement that underscores government’s commitment to social justice.

As of September 2018, two key projects are now ready to perform their roles, namely the Booysens Magistrates’ Court and the Plettenberg Magistrates’ Court, following completion of the planning, design and construction works on behalf of the Department of Justice and Correctional Services. Construction on the Booysens site commenced in June 2016, and the final structure was built at a cost of over
R240 million.

The Booysens facility comprises 10 courtrooms – including one Civil Court, two Family Courts and one Child, Domestic Violence and Peace Order Court – administration offices, 15 magistrates’ offices, and holding cells with a provision for juvenile male and female and adult male and female cells.

The work included the construction of 69 parking bays for staff, 54 parking bays for visitors, and an additional four parking bays per 100 m² of office space. The IDT is proud to have contributed at least 1 665 job opportunities throughout the project life cycle.

The IDT’s comprehensive social facilitation process – a niche service offering by the IDT that ensures communities take ownership of the facilities once transferred to them – saw an agreement reached with the communities surrounding the construction site that saw 50% of the labour sourced locally. Candidates taken in without the necessary skills were trained and conferred with certificates that will help them find suitable jobs in the construction sector. The IDT’s mandate is to ensure that 20% of the total expenditure on any project is allocated to women, and a further 15% for youth employment.

Plettenberg Magistrates’ Court

The Plettenberg Magistrates’ Court was built at a cost of around R300 million and has a similar set-up. The 10 courtrooms housed in the building include two Sexual Offences Courts, four Criminal Courts, two Regional Courts and two Family Courts, as well as a Civil and Equality Court.

As with the Booysens development, the IDT embarked on a comprehensive social facilitation process, which included participation and buy-in from the Bitou Municipal Council. Intensive community engagement and community meetings were held in terms of upcoming work and subcontracting opportunities. A steering committee representative was appointed for each municipal ward, together with a community liaison officer. Furthermore, the IDT – in consultation with the appointed contractor – facilitated a process where prospects for subcontractors not contracted to the tender process were given an opportunity to participate. Around 519 work opportunities were created, half of which were taken up by residents of Plettenberg Bay, many of whom were unemployed general and semi-skilled workers.

Understanding the significance of obtaining work and the dignity it imparts is a life-changing experience for those who otherwise face the prospect of long-term unemployment and marignalisation from society. For Pinky Rila, a single mother of two who lives in New Horizons, a township outside Plettenberg Bay, finding indirect work on an IDT project has set her on a path to new and better opportunities.

Like many breadwinners in the township, she wakes up early to prepare the younger of her sons for school, and cook breakfast for the household. That in-depth experience unexpectedly translated into a business opportunity when Rila was able to establish a mobile kitchen to serve work crews employed on the Plettenberg court project. During the course of the three-year construction project, Rila prepared food for the approximately 320-strong labour force, and now plans to set up a formal catering business. Her elder son was also part of the local labour employed by the contractor, GVK-Siya Zama Construction.

These are practical examples of the direct and indirect way that the construction of the Plettenberg Bay Magistrates’ Court project has impacted positively on many lives.

Healthcare at Port Nolloth

Caring for the community is multifaceted and the IDT continues to forge ahead on allied projects that include hospitals and clinics. A recent example is the commissioning of a new R150 million project in Port Nolloth. This small seaside town on the Atlantic coast is situated in one of the remotest areas in South Africa and is home to just over 6 000 people, living in 1 830 households, according to a 2011 census.

Built on behalf of the Northern Cape Department of Health, this primary healthcare facility includes a trauma unit; radiology; dispensary; psychiatric, maternity and pediatric wards; and consultation rooms for reproductive health, psychology, dietetics and other services.

Alongside other initiatives, the Port Nolloth clinic and the two recently completed court projects demonstrate the IDT’s commitment to being a premier implementing agent for government social infrastructure projects across every sphere of community upliftment and development.