Oribi Village to be revamped after property transfer

2014-07-30 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S historic ­Oribi Village is to be re-developed.

Currently, it is characterised by its ­dilapidated buildings.

The revamp is on the cards after the transfer of the property from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements to Msunduzi Municipality.

The executive committee (Exco) was told last week a total of 2 038 properties are being transferred from Human Settlements to the municipality. These include the old and new Oribi housing sections.

Other properties that make up the number are in Copesville, Mountain Rise, Bishopstowe, Whispers and the old workers’ hostel in East Street.

There are long-standing plans in place to renovate the East Street hostel and provide rental housing.

DA councillor Judith Lawrence said Oribi has huge potential for development.

Mayor Chris Ndlela thanked Human Settlements for agreeing to hand the properties over to the municipality.

Ward councillor Philani Ngidi was “over the moon” that Oribi Village is going to be part of the municipality.

“I’d written numerous letters to Human Settlements pleading with them to give the village to us. Every time there was a pipe-burst or something else happened, I would be called out. But there was nothing I could do as the area was under the jurisdiction of the provincial department.”

Ngidi said that as a result of the transfers, there are big plans for the area.

He said Msunduzi’s Integrated ­Development Plan (IDP) outlined details of an airport precinct that would include an ICT hub and hotels.

In the old Oribi Village there were plans to re-do the community hall and sports facilities.

He was certain the city’s 2030 vision would include a revamp of the area.

The Witness came across a contract put out by the municipality in March this year, for the appointment of an agent to “prepare, package and implement the Oribi Village re-development plan”.

• Oribi Village is historic part of Pietermaritzburg’s World War 2 past. John Deane, in Pietermaritzburg 1838-1988: a new portrait of an African City, wrote: “Oribi Village and Oribi Hospital was occupied by sick and wounded soldiers from 1941 to 1944. After the war it became a university residence for men. It went on to provide housing for returning servicemen and their families and there were some who were both servicemen and students.”

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