R32m to build a ‘temporary’ home – then tear it down

2014-10-05 06:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The eThekwini municipality has spent more than R34?000 on each of the 700 tiny prefabricated rooms in a transit camp that is being built to house victims of a fire in Durban’s Kennedy Road settlement.

Then when – or if – the people living in the camp have been rehoused, the city plans to demolish the pricey structure.

The 3m x 3m units, built from compressed board, cost just R10?000 less than a permanent 40m2 ­four-roomed low-cost house.

Some of the city’s existing transit camps are nearly a decade old, prompting opposition councillors to suggest this “temporary” solution may be another that becomes permanent.

Hundreds of families were left homeless after a huge fire swept through the settlement in June. Kennedy Road has for years been the site of major political tensions between the council and the shack?dwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo.

Inkatha Freedom Party executive committee member Mdu Nkosi said: “Why not go straight to a permanent solution, which only costs a little more, than spending this kind of money and then having to build a permanent house again? It doesn’t make sense.”

The municipality did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The rooms, which stand 10 in a unit, have zinc roofs, a single window each and no electricity.

There will be communal toilets and ablution facilities. The price tag of the project will be nearly R32?million, which includes preparing the ground for building.

“We are deeply concerned about the costs versus what is being built for a structure that is ultimately going to be removed. It is a waste,” Nkosi said.

When City Press visited the area last week, residents employed by the contractor building the camp were erecting new units just metres from where shacks burnt down in June.

One of the residents who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal and who moved to Durban from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape three months ago, moved into one of the units on Monday after the shack she shared with her sister and brother-in-law burnt down in a second fire last Friday night.

She spent last weekend squatting in their corrugated iron tuck shop, which was spared by the blaze.

“We don’t know how long we will be staying here,” she told City Press. “Nobody told us anything. We just slept in the tuck?shop until this was ready. The place is small, but we have nothing else. We have nowhere else to go.”

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said the R32 million transit camp was built using a “subsidy quantum’’ of R47 000 per family provided by the department of human settlements for disaster case using Section 36 emergency procurement procedures.

She said the building of low cost housing for Kennedy Road families had been delayed by a dispute over gravesites and that they would eventually be housed at another site.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.