Millions pumped into Jika Joe re-settlement programme

2008-05-07 00:00

Jika Joe shack dwellers who were displaced by floods early this year will be housed in a temporary establishment while construction of permanent accommodation is under way.

A budget of R4,3 million has been allocated for the emergency settlement programme. More than 200 people who are currently staying in tents provided by the Msunduzi disaster management will be accommodated near Masukwana (East) Street.

The emergency settlement programme comes after hundreds of people were displaced in floods in January and February.

Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo, the deputy mayor and chairman of the infrastructure, services and facilities committee, Mervin Dirks, Ward 33 councillor Peter Green, and Jika Joe community leader Bongani Mkhize attended the sod turning event yesterday.

It has been proposed that the temporary units should be three- or four-storey buildings. Green said the plan is to permanently clear the informal settlement and relocate its people.

"There are two phases in this project. The first is clearing of the floodplain and the second phase is to build the sustainable human settlement (SHS) in line with the informal settlement clearance."

A social survey is under way to determine how many people live in the informal settlement as well as their family composition, so it can be determined how many units to build in the second phase.

John Gutridge of disaster management said the temporary accommodation will later be developed into permanent accommodation. He said all shack dwellers will be removed to the SHS. Gutridge said a few places have been earmarked for building of permanent accommodation.

Some of these areas include open land near Ash Road and Paton Street. The construction of SHS is expected to be complete two years following the completion of the temporary settlement.

Mkhize said the community acknowledges the efforts of the municipality.

"We are grateful that we will finally have formal accommodation. These are the fruits of our struggle to be recognised as permanent residents in the city. We have refused to be removed to France and elsewhere far away from the city because we belong here."

The existing shacks will be demolished when people are being moved to new accommodation. Dirks said the area will be monitored to prevent people coming back.

"We will also make sure that we do away with the illegal landlords. The emergency settlements are a free accommodation, no renting will be allowed," said Dirks.

sandilez@witness.co.za

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