• What is the Cornubia Integrated Housing Project all about?
  • Where is the Cornubia Integrated Human Settlement Project situated?
  • What is an integrated development?
  • Who are the developers and where does the money come from to build the houses, the non-residential precincts and the infrastructure?
  • Status of Project
  • What types of social amenities will be provided?
  • Who will be responsible for providing social infrastructure?
  • What are the different kinds of residential typologies that will be available in Cornubia?
  • How many residential units will be available? What prices?
  • What is a BNG house?
  • Will the quality of the BNG and affordable housing units be controlled?
  • Who qualifies to receive low-costing housing?
  • Who will receive BNG (fully subsidized) houses in Cornubia?
  • How will people in ETM-owned BNG housing space maintain their homes?
  • What kinds of opportunities will there be for local communities?
  • How will jobs and contracts during the construction phase be allocated?4
  • How will traffic flow be affected, and managed?
  • Will there be sufficient water for the area?
  • What public transport facilities are planned, and will that include rail transport?
  • Will sewer infrastructure be increased?
  • What will the impact of the housing be on property values in the broader area?
  • Will the expenditure on Cornubia by ETM and the province affect taxpayers?
  • What will happen to existing indigenous vegetation?
  • What will happen to the wetlands?
  • Will there be a water monitoring system ensuring that wetlands are not contaminated by industrial activities at any point?
  • How will disturbed areas be rehabilitated during and after the building phases?
  • What “green” initiatives will be implemented?
  • What is the current status and progress report of Phase 2 of the project?

What is the Cornubia Integrated Housing Project all about?
Cornubia is a joint venture between the eThekwini Municipality and Tongaat Hulett. It is set to be the Municipality’s and the Province’s largest sustainable integrated human settlement initiative. The project is estimated to cost about R25 billion and covers over 1300 hectares. The project will consist of mixed-use, mixed income development, incorporating some 2,5 million m2 industrial and commercial bulk, residential and open space uses.

The project will have affordable and sustainable housing with an option for a range of income groups and has the potential to accommodate approximately 24 000 dwelling units.

One of the major components of the project is the provision of 15 000 subsidised units.  Another key component is the provision of public transport which will be planned as part of the Bus-Rapid Transport to Link Umhlanga to Phoenix and to Dube Tradeport in the North. The project is will be implemented in phases. Phase 1A consists of 486 units and Phase 1B  2186 units.  

Where is the Cornubia Integrated Human Settlement Project situated?
The project is situated north of Durban between Phoenix, Ottawa and Umhlanga. It is bordered by the N2 Freeway and is seven kilometres south of the King Shaka International Airport.

What is an integrated development?
An integrated housing development is one that adheres to the Breaking New Ground principles of the Department of Housing, which seeks to alter the housing patterns in the country by integrating communities and placing them closer to areas of/with economic opportunities. BNG builds on the housing policy outlined in the 1994 White Paper on Housing, and adds the imperative of ensuring that human settlements are sustainable and habitable to the basic original goal of delivering affordable housing. The priorities of the plan are to:

  • Accelerate delivery of housing within the context of sustainable human settlements;
  • Provision of housing within human settlements;
  • Provide quality housing to turn homes into assets;
  • Create a single, efficient formal housing market, and
  • To abolish historical spatial planning thereby restructuring and integrating human settlements. 
Who are the developers and where does the money come from to build the houses, the non-residential precincts and the infrastructure?
eThekwini Municipality is the primary developer for the low-income and subsidized housing, as the development is a state initiative. The Provincial AND National Departments of Human Settlements (KZNDoHS) has provided subsidies which will be used to construct the houses. eThekwini will install the internal services within the low cost housing developments.  Tongaat Hulett as the owner of adjacent land, are developing industrial, commercial property and all non-subsidised and partially subsidised residential developments.

Status of Project
The total estimated time to completion of the BNG units is approximately 10 years, provided the local authority can increase the present delivery rate. The project will be phased and phase 1 will be the development of 2672 BNG units and associated public/social facilities, which have already commenced.. 

The first phase of housing (1a) has been completed and all units are occupied.  Phase 1b is also fully subsidized housing and is under construction.

Other phases will follow upon the installation and construction of a water reservoir and related engineering infrastructure (eg electrical substation & wastewater treatment upgrade, etc)

A temporary primary school has been set up and opened on 20 July 2015.

This first social cluster, comprising a primary school and a multi-purpose hall, has been designed
Plans for retail facility for use by residents is well under way and eThekwini Business Support Unit has committed not only to developing facilities, but also to mentoring and supporting residents of Phase 1 to be fully fledged entrepreneurs. 


What types of social amenities will be provided?
Provision has been made for:
  • Schools including crèches;
  • Religious sites (for churches, temples and mosques);
  • Community halls;
  • Parks;
  • Local neighbourhood shopping opportunities ;
  • Libraries, police stations, clinics etc
  • Taxi and bus ranks.

Who will be responsible for providing social infrastructure?
Various and relevant provincial departments as well as the local authority will be responsible for the provision of all social facilities. 

HOUSING

What are the different kinds of residential typologies that will be available in Cornubia?
Housing within Cornubia Phase 1 consists of duplex (double storey row and semi-detached) units.  Phase 2 will include duplexes, walk-ups (3-4 storey apartments or flats), as well as apartment blocks of up to 5 or 6 stories (with retail/commercial on the ground floors). There will be no single residential development. Ownership will be freehold, sectional title or rental. 

How many residential units will be available? What prices?
Approximately 15,000 subsidised or partly subsidised units are planned.  Beneficiaries earning R0-R3500 will qualify for fully subsidized units. For beneficiaries earning in excess of R3,500 to R15,000, subsidies are available on a sliding scale and the balance of the purchase price is to be secured privately.  Subsidised units may not be sold within a stipulated time period (exact time period will be endorsed in the title deed).

The other residential units on Cornubia will range from R200 000 to over a R1 million, to provide a wide range of affordability. These units will include FSC (Charter), GAP (bondable and FLISP) housing, as well as other affordable housing options. There will be approximately 25 000 units in total within Cornubia depending on the outcome of the Phase 2 EIA.

What is a BNG house?
A BNG (breaking new ground) home, previously known as an RDP house, is a house that Government subsidises and “gives away” to people who cannot afford to build/buy a house. It is aimed at those who earn less the R3500 per month. In Cornubia, these are predominantly double-storey row or semi-detached BNG units (duplexes) offering beneficiaries 2 bedrooms upstairs, and an open plan kitchen/lounge and separate bathroom downstairs. 

Will the quality of the BNG and affordable housing units be controlled?
Yes, eThekwini are managing this process, with the NHBRC and DoHS providing oversight.

Who qualifies to receive low-costing housing?
Beneficiaries of the low-cost housing units will have to meet the Department of Human Settlements qualifying criteria for low-cost housing, i.e. 
  • First time property owner; 
  • Competent to contract; 
  • Over 18 years of age; 
  • South African citizen; 
  • Monthly household income not exceeding R3 500,00; 
  • Married or habitually cohabits with proven financial dependents; 
  • Not yet benefitted from government funding.
Who will receive BNG (fully subsidized) houses in Cornubia?
Both Phase 1A and 1B are fully subsidized houses referred to as Breaking New Ground units.  These houses are not for sale.  If anyone offers to sell you a house in Phase 1A or Phase 1B, please report this to the eThekwini Fraud and Corruption Hotline on 0800 202020.

Council has approved allocation guidelines for phases 1a and 1b.  The priorities for who will receive these units include:
  • people who were living in informal settlements which had to be urgently relocated for various reason including unsafe location or in the way of service delivery (eg: road and school construction)
  • people living in smaller informal settlements which could be eradicated with the relocation of these residents 
  • long term residents of transit facilities
  • people with special needs, for example physical disabilities
  • military veterans
  • minority groups.

How will people in ETM-owned BNG housing space maintain their homes?
Housing beneficiaries are to obtain individual title deeds for the units and it will be the owners’ responsibility to maintain their structures.  However, low maintenance finishes have been used in the construction of the units, e.g. aluminum doors and window.  

The Municipality would be responsible for the maintenance of the public open spaces.  


OPPORTUNITIES FLOWING FROM THE DEVELOPMENT OF CORNUBIA

What kinds of opportunities will there be for local communities?
The opportunities for local communities include the following:

  • Employment during the construction phase, which could take up to 20 years
  • Employment (unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled & professional) after the construction phase, in all aspects offered within the development - offices, shops, manufacturing, storage, residential, etc
  • Business opportunities
  • Residential (various types)
  • Retail & convenience shopping
  • Improved access infrastructure (roads, bridges, public transport routes)
  • Leisure (“park” spaces, green belt, sporting facilities, restaurants, etc)
  • General upgrading of the area as a result of investment

It is estimated that 43 000 permanent and 387 000 construction jobs will be created over the 15-20 year period.

How will jobs and contracts during the construction phase be allocated?
As SMME and BEE participation will be promoted, the use of local labour will be encouraged. Guidelines or criteria to which prospective contractors will need to meet in order to qualify for contracts, will be developed. 


INFRASTRUCTURE

How will traffic flow be affected, and managed?
A detailed traffic impact assessment (TIA) was undertaken as part of the  EIA and town planning  processes. The report outlines the proposed new roads infrastructure as well as upgrades to existing roads and interchanges required to service the development and considered the ultimate development as well as the requirements for the various phases.  Traffic congestion will be minimized by the construction of several new collector routes thus alleviating bottlenecks at existing already-constrained intersections. The Phase 1 components include the extension of Northern Drive into Cornubia and access from the Old North Coast road over the rail line. 

The N2/M41 interchange upgrade will provide a direct link into the Cornubia Development.

Will there be sufficient water for the area?
Yes, water provision has been confirmed, reliant on adequate rainfall.

What public transport facilities are planned, and will that include rail transport?
Provision has been made for public transport.  Intermodal transport interchanges will also be provided (this will accommodate modal interchanges between car, taxi, and bus. Rail could be included in this in time).

Will sewer infrastructure be increased?
Provision has been made for this. The Phoenix Waste Water Treatment Works (PWWTW) will be upgraded to accommodate the additional sewer requirements.


IMPACT OF CORNUBIA ON BROADER AREA

What will the impact of the housing be on property values in the broader area?
The project will deliver billions of rands in civil and electrical bulk and link infrastructure that will benefit not only Cornubia but the broader/surrounding area. This is a significant investment in infrastructure in the area that will unlock further areas for development. This will result in increased property values. THD’s industrial and commercial areas will also add value to the area. 

Will the expenditure on Cornubia by ETM and the province affect taxpayers?
There will be no additional impact to the taxpayer as a result of Cornubia than against any other new development in the province which will lead to additional new tax and ratepayers. 


CONSERVATION ISSUES

What will happen to existing indigenous vegetation?
There is very little existing indigenous vegetation due to the sugarcane plantations.  The vast majority of existing indigenous vegetation is being retained within the open space system and a significant amount of new indigenous vegetation will be re-introduced over time.

What will happen to the wetlands?
These are to be rehabilitated and incorporated into the open space system. A small portion of degraded wetlands will however be lost to development but the quantum of new, rehabilitated open space will be significant and more than make up for this loss.

Will there be a water monitoring system ensuring that wetlands are not contaminated by industrial activities at any point?
All industrial stormwater will be required to accommodate and deal with any pollutants onsite.

How will disturbed areas be rehabilitated during and after the building phases?
Through the introduction and planting of trees, plants and grasses.

What “green” initiatives will be implemented?
Currently the project team is investigating various potential green initiatives to assess the viability of certain energy saving technologies such as solar water heaters, solar geysers and improved insulation for the various types of housing. Residential recycling projects, market gardening and urban greening initiatives are also being looked at. Besides the green component, the added benefit is that these measures will also reduce electricity demand by the development. Developments within the Industrial node have been provided with a maximum electrical quantum based on a 15% - 20% reduction from normal power usage.

FUTURE OF THE PROJECT

What is the current status and progress report of Phase 2 of the project?
Cornubia Phase 2 is still in the planning stage.   EIA approval was obtained in October 2015 and the process of  detailed planning for the first sub-phase of Phase 2 has commenced.    Other sub-phases of Phase  2 will also include different housing typologies to cater for a range of income earners.  This will include low-cost housing, gap housing in the form of bondable units for beneficiaries that qualify for individual subsidies, rental stock for people that do not qualify for subsidies, and units for higher income earners.
 
Qualifying criteria for “gap housing” would be very similar to that of low-cost housing, except that individual subsidy qualifying income would be between R3, 501-00 to  R15, 000 and subsidies are calculated on a sliding scale.

Phase 2 requires major bulk infrastructure to be constructed, viz. high order roads, water, electricity, sanitation and stormwater controls, which will be planned and implemented incrementally.