SA at work: Home is where the heart is

2014-04-15 08:00

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

Fortune and Bonginkosi Magagula are playing soccer outside their parents’ home. They are kicking a ball back and forth in the afternoon sun.

A few weeks ago, this simple game wouldn’t have been possible. Fortune (21) and Bonginkosi (23) were sharing a one-room building with their parents. Now they’re living in a two-bedroom home in a sprawling mixed-use and mixed-income development called Cornubia, just north of Durban.

President Jacob Zuma officially opened Cornubia last Sunday in an event that marked the completion of the first phase of the residential part of the project, consisting of 482 houses.

The development is significant: it offers more than just homes and consists of roads, a bus transport system and airport development, too.

By the time Zuma visited last Sunday, some people had already moved in – first occupation was in December – but some were still moving in that day.

A walk around Cornubia on a weekday afternoon reveals that most residents’ stories are similar. They were previously living in single- or two-room houses in informal settlements with no electricity and relying on communal taps for water.

Many had been on housing waiting lists for years, and many were already beyond retirement age. There are younger residents, of course, like Fortune and Bonginkosi. Many of the primary residents came to Cornubia with their children and grandchildren.

Nolwazi (22) and Fikile (27) Gumede moved in two weeks ago. They came from Inanda, where they were among seven people sharing two rooms. They are living with their uncle.

Nolwazi says: “It’s like we were dreaming and then it came true.”

Thuliusile Shozi (23) is another young Cornubia resident. She lives with her mother. They used to share a one-room structure in Reservoir Hills with three other people.

That building was close to a river and they often encountered snakes, says Shozi.

Most of the 482 houses are complete, but construction workers and vehicles are still on site, putting the finishing touches to the neighbourhood.

The new roads are smooth. In the park are young children clambering on the shiny new slide, swings and jungle gyms.

From the outside, the houses look the same. There are personal touches, though. A few residents have already planted beautiful little gardens and homemade washing lines are strung between branches jammed into the ground.

It looks like any other suburb in the weeks ahead of a general election: political posters adorn every lamppost.

Cornubia sits between affluent Umhlanga, and the historically disadvantaged Phoenix and Ottawa communities. It occupies 1?200 hectares of what used to be sugar cane fields. In future, Cornubia will contain residential, commercial, industrial and mixed-use areas.

The sheer size and range of projects mean Cornubia is expected to create about 48?000 jobs – and that’s not counting the 15?000 construction jobs.

The project will continue for about 25 years and will eventually house more than 100?000 people.

Of the 28?000 houses that will be built, 15?000 will be subsidised or low-income houses.

Speaking to residents at the official launch, Zuma said: “I am hopeful that with integrated human settlement projects, we will be able to effectively eradicate a significant number of the informal settlements across various areas in eThekwini and across South Africa.”

Zuma said his government was “working hard” on similar projects around the country.

Human Settlements Minister Connie September cited Lephalale in Limpopo and Khutsong in Merafong as examples of two similar projects.

Cornubia Integrated Settlement, said Zuma, was about more than just mixed land use.

Said September: “If apartheid policy was to divide, then ours is to unite the people across racial and class lines through sustainable human settlements.”

The Cornubia project is a joint venture between the national and provincial departments of human settlements, the eThekwini municipality and Tongaat Hulett Development.

This project, among a number of other human settlement developments, has been overseen and monitored by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, which is chaired by Zuma.

Join the conversation! 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. 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 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.