‘Proper’ houses to be built

2011-01-28 00:00

THE National Department of Human Settlement has injected R106 million into KwaZulu-Natal’s disaster relief grant fund to assist households displaced by recent flooding in the province.

The fund was established by the national government in the 2008/2009 financial year after severe floods hit the province.

Human Settlement Minister Tokyo Sexwale, KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize, KZN Human Settlement MEC Maggie Govender and Ladysmith municipal officials toured Thembalihle settlement in Steadville, Ladysmith, where 65 mud houses were partially or completely destroyed by floods.

The houses are built just a stone’s throw from the bank of the Klip River.

Sexwale’s visit follows the proclamation of 28 municipalities in seven provinces as national disaster areas.

“This is not a huge amount of money, but it will make a difference.

Thembalihle will have 1 500 proper houses built for the residents and the MEC [Govender] has a responsibility to see to it that the funds are channelled to benefit the needy,” said Sexwale.

Asked if a date has been set for the completion of the houses, Sexwale said there is a “loose deadline” as municipal officials need to discuss issues such as vacant land and water supply for the project.

Residents in the area live in appalling conditions and they say these become worse during heavy rains.

Phumelele Mabaso’s home collapsed twice in different parts.

Mabaso (33) is unemployed and lives with her grandmother and two children.

She said one side of the mud house collapsed early this month and two weeks ago the front also collapsed.

There are pit toilets in the area and Mabaso said theirs has been full since the floods.

“We don’t use it since the floods. We go to the nearby stream and it doesn’t help the situation for my grandmother.

“If I could get a job I could build a proper home for my family,” she said.

Premier Mkhize said Thembalihle is not suitable for houses as it is very close to the Klip River.

“We will monitor closely the process of building of the houses for these people and make sure that the money goes to the right channel for the right purpose,” he said.

Some of the money will be in the form of vouchers for people in the area to purchase building materials, said Govender.

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