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R30m housing project stalled for years

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23 Aug 2011

A R30 million housing project in eThekwini has been stalled for the past 14 years and the existing homes that were built there are so neglected that they will probably have to be demolished and rebuilt before being handed over to their intended owners.

According to former ANC ward councillor, Talent Hlongwa – who used to represent the Inkanyezi district in Mariannhill – blames the delays on continued political bickering between the people who are living in St Wendolins and those living in Ekhuphumeleleni over who should be given these houses.

Moreover, various community leaders have apparently claimed the houses for themselves and have been trying to sell them to people in the area. Construction of the township began in the late 1990s but there seems to have been little progress as there are still no roads, no electricity connections and no sanitation or running water.

Nigel Gumede, the chairman of eThekwini’s human settlement and infrastructure committee concedes that the project has encountered a number of problems included disputes between community groups and intended beneficiaries of houses.

He says that houses were originally allocated to different people when the project started but because of the delays these people could no longer be found. He says that some of them may have died while others may have returned to the rural areas.

Last week the council published a list of 100 people who had been allocated homes in the development and asked them to come forward to claim the property. Gumede says that if the intended beneficiaries are not found then the homes will be allocated to someone else on the list.

He says the initial budget for Phase One and Two of the Inkanyezi project was just over R26 million for 1 059 houses.

However, 530 of these homes need extensive repairs or must be demolished and rebuilt and as a result the council will have to invest at least R13 million more to complete the development.

Moreover, the electricity and water infrastructure must be finished and roads leading to the houses must still be built and the costs for this are not included in the R13 million allocation.

The original contractors for this project have been paid despite the fact that many of the homes are incomplete.

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