Current projects include amongst others:
  • South – Cato Crest in-situ upgrade, Folweni, Lovu 1 and 2, New Dunbar, Old Dunbar, Umlazi infill, Umnini, Welbedagt East and Welbedagt West, Kingsburgh West.
  • North – eTafuleni, Emtshebeni, Ntuzuma Phase 2 and 3, Tambo Plaza Phase 1, Trenance Park 2B, White City, Cornubia, Amoati Cuba.
  • West – kwaXimba, Sandton, kwaDingezi.
  • Hostels currently being converted to Family Units: KwaMashu, Glebelands, Klaarwater , Dalton Road, Umlazi T, Jacobs, KwaMakhutha, SJ Smith, Kranskloof.

In addition, there are many anticipated / proposed projects in various stages including pre-feasibility studies, planning and packaging.

In-situ upgrade:
An in-situ upgrade is the conversion of informal dwellings (shacks / slums / mjondolo) to formal houses within the project area. 

Example: Cato Crest

In 2000, the Cato Manor Development Association (CMDA) initiated a housing project for 1500 households who had settled informally on state land in Cato Crest.  Social unrest in the area blocked the project and in 2003 the CMDA was dissolved and all of its projects handed over to the eThekwini Municipality. 
By the time the project was revitalized in 2006, the informal settlement had mushroomed to more than 3500 households.  The project area can only accommodate 1500 freestanding sites, so some relocations have been necessary.  To date, more than 850 houses have been built in this extremely well-located area, and nearby land has been identified for extension of the housing project. 

Greenfields projects ​attempt to eradicate the housing backlog by creating opportunities for sustainable and integrated housing on well-located, previous un-inhabited or underutilized land.  Households who must be relocated from informal settlements, as well as backyarders living in overcrowded conditions and other special cases are targeted as beneficiaries in these projects.

Example: Cornubia – an integrated human settlement
Cornubia​ covers over 1300 hectares and will be developed over 15 to 20 years, ultimately providing housing opportunities for 125 000 people. It is a sustainable mixed-use, mixed income development which will bring communities close to job opportunities, social amenities, major services and public transport routes.

The project is innovative in that it combines residential, retail and industrial facilities in a walkable environment on well-located land, close to the economic hubs of Umhlanga Town Centre, King Shaka airport and the Dube Trade Port.

Cornubia is a model partnership between the public and private sectors.  It is estimated that 43 00 permanent and 387 000 construction jobs will be created over a 15-20 year period.
Hostel redevelopment: 
Community Residential Units provide rental opportunities for those earning between R800 and R3500 per month.  Priority is given to residents of former hostels.  The conversion of dormitories to flats enables these long term residents to bring their families into a decent and dignified human settlement.

Example: SJ Smith
The SJ Smith Hostel is located approximately 15km to the south of the Durban CBD, within the industrial area of Mobeni West. The hostel was initially developed for use by male migrant labourers entering the urban environment for the first time. The hostel was run down, dirty and overcrowded. Communal facilities including ablutions, were dirty, neglected and were inadequate for the numbers of people using them.
Ten bed dormitories, which were never designed to afford the slightest privacy, were even more crowded. The number of beds provided was, officially, 4 408, but numerous “illegal tenants” made use of the Hostel, with the result that the best estimate of the population was 5500 before conversion into family units.

Conversion into family units (two and three bedroom flats with private cooking and ablution facilities) started in 2006.  By the time of completion, the SJ Smith Community Residential Units will house an estimated 2 468 people, in 516 decent, dignified and secure family units.

Key Priority Projects

The top priority of the Human Settlements Unit is to plan, build and allocate fully subsidized housing for qualifying beneficiaries.


The Unit is working towards reducing the housing backlog, in particular by addressing the housing needs of those families living in informal settlements. 
The provision of housing also contributes towards overcoming the legacy of spatial segregation and inequality in the city.

Planning and delivery of integrated human settlements aims to increase densities along transport corridors, improving affordable access to social amenities and work opportunities for residents.


The location of all human settlements projects is illustrated in the diagram to the left.



Within this delivery framework, the Human Settlements Unit has identified certain flagship projects, detailed below.

Cornubia, one of the largest integrated human settlement projects countrywide and one of the Cabinet endorsed national priority projects, is a ground-breaking model of integrated development and a significant attempt to counter apartheid-era planning and address pervasive urban sprawl in modern day South Africa.

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) have provided subsidies which are used to construct the houses.   Tongaat Hulett as the owner of adjacent land, are developing industrial, commercial property and all non-subsidised and partially subsidised residential developments.
The core objective of the development is ensuring that a complete and liveable environment is created within which a range of economic and social opportunities are integrated with the provision of housing.
Cornubia is a 1 300 hectare project that is conservatively valued at approximately R26-billion.  The projects is being developed in phases over approximately 20 years.
Phase 1A, the pilot phase, comprises 482 units, all of which are completed.  A temporary school has been constructed and opened on 20 July 2015.  A retail facility is scheduled to commence this financial year.
Phase 1B consists of 2180 units and is expected to be complete by December 2017.
Tongaat Huletts Development ’s Commercial Industrial Business Estate (CIBE) is completely sold to businesses, several of which have opened for operation.
Cornubia Mall being constructed and is due to open in October 2017
Phase 2 comprises an estimated 12 000 subsidized units as well as an equal number of privately developed units for middle-income earners.  Detailed design and planning are well underway, and the construction of services in phase 2A is to start in January 2018.

Cornubia Phase 1B under construction in September 2016


Umlazi infill
  • Umlazi lies adjacent to the south Durban basin or the Back of Port and links the associated logistics, manufacturing and freight transport between the port, the city and the country. The proximity of the proposed second harbor triggers a set of economic imperatives that could have a positive impact on job creation and economic development.
  • The series of projects are primarily in-situ upgrades. In addition the southern section of Umlazi around Glebe is the historic location of hostels for single-sex workers that was initiated during Apartheid.
  • The various ‘suburbs’ within Umlazi were built at the best possible locations in terms of topography and linkages to public transport along the key road spine (Griffithe Mxenge Highway, formerly known as Mangosothu Highway and rail route that runs through the length of Umlazi.
  • Over a significant time the informal settlements have located themselves in the remainder of the tracts of land that were left over. This also includes building settlements on rail reserves, land within floodplains or under power lines. In general it is the poorer portions of land that are also steep that makes in-situ upgrades at times difficult to implement.

A mixture of informal structures and newly constructed houses in Umlazi.


The Sobonakhona project is a rural project in the South of Durban. It is approximately 4666 hectares in extent and situated 30km to the South West of the Durban CBD. It is situated to the West of the Amanzimtoti and South West of Folweni Township in Ward 96. The P21-1 forms part of its Northern boundary whilst the remainder of the project boundary is partly formed by the Municipal Ward boundary and the D993.

The Land has been held in trust for the Sobonakhona – Makhanya Tribe and their descendants, by the Ingonyama Trust.

The project was approved in September 2014, started in October 2014 and anticipated completion of the 3000 units is in 2019.