Urban influx creates problems for councils

2013-12-06 00:00

HALF of the province’s population now live in urban areas, human settlement MEC Ravi Pillay said yesterday.

And this had created problems for munici­palities with land invasion issues becoming more prominent.

Those migrating from rural areas were doing so to escape poverty or in pursuit of new opportunities, resulting in a significant number of people living in informal settlement or slums.

Pillay also spoke of the need for partnerships with civil society if service delivery protests were to be minimised.

Turning his focus on the recent collapse of the Tongaat Mall, Pillay said he fully supported eThekwini city manager Sbu Sithole in taking precautionary measures in dealing with companies involved in the mall’s construction.

Referring to the Cornubia presidential project involving one of the companies that constructed Tongaat Mall, Gralio Precast, Pillay said there was no reason to question the structural quality of those houses.

“I am mindful of the complaints by some of the first batch of residents who have moved into Cornubia. In the current circumstances it would be prudent and responsible to increase our vigilance,” he said.

He said his department would crack down on companies that used different names to escape liability for prior conduct in the construction industry.

Pillay said yesterday the six KwaZulu-Natal municipalities now empowered to run their own low-cost housing programme should not use cadre deployment when filling vacancies in their housing units.

“Those vacancies are not there for purpose to solve anybody’s deployment problems. Those are highly skilled positions, not just in terms of technical skills, but the work of those people will determine the physical space over the next years,” Pillay said.

He made the statements at the urban human settlements dialogue held in Durban yesterday in preparation for the provincial housing summit to be held early next year.

Also speaking at the gathering, head of department Greta Apelgren-Narkedien said there was a need to racially integrate residential areas and build quality houses that could last for 50 years.

Apelgren-Narkedien said municipalities and the department need to keep up with economic developments taking place in the same way people established informal settlements near development projects.

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