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City's plan to eradicate housing backlog
THE City has a bold plan to eradicate more than 40 years of housing backlog through its focus to find suitable and well located land to deliver houses and eradicate informal settlements while putting an end to land invasions.

This follows the tabling of a report at an Executive Committee meeting held on 16 April. The tabled report stated that in order to address the current housing challenges, the Human Settlements Unit has identified various priority projects which require land acquisition for successful implementation. Over 700 properties are listed in the report.

In essence, the proposed project will provide service sites for the public to build their own houses as opposed to waiting for a low cost housing to be built for them. The strategic objective of these land acquisitions is to address the shortage of accommodation for people living within informal settlements and to address the overall housing backlog. EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede welcomed the report saying it will move the City forward. “Gradually, residents living in informal settlements will be relocated to new service sites and housing developments,” she said.

Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Councillor Mondli Mthembu said they were moving away from the expectancy of building low cost housing and instead would give people sites on which to build their own houses. “This report allows the City to deal with the housing issue. A number of people need to be relocated particularly from transit camps where they have lived for years.

We cannot rely on the Cornubia development to meet this need alone. Therefore, this system where we provide service sites and allow people will build their own homes will address the backlog,” he said. He said people required access to land. “If we make land available to people they can build their own homes. This report aims to ensure that we maximise access to land for our people,” he said.

Following the tabling of the report, the Real Estate and Human Settlement units will enter into negotiations with the respective property owners for the acquisition or expropriation of the land parcels which are listed in the report. Once this has been undertaken, the units will proceed to obtain the required Municipal and administrative approvals in respect of each property. The acquisition of the properties will be funded through the Urban Settlements Development Grant funding.

The heads of the Real Estate and Human Settlements units will negotiate for the acquisition or expropriation of the properties subject to positive pre-screening and feasibilities. The report states that in the event that appropriation is deemed necessary, the head of the Real Estate Unit together with the head of the Human Settlements Unit will be authorised to proceed with the expropriation of the properties, subject to the consent of the MEC for Human Settlements being sought for the expropriation and/or required consent in terms of section 190 of the Local Authorities Ordinance.

charmel.payet@durban.gov.za 
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