Housing project for low earners

2015-06-11 06:00
PHOTO: thami magubane 

Signal Hill forest is to make way for a major housing development.

PHOTO: thami magubane Signal Hill forest is to make way for a major housing development.

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THE forests at Signal Hill are to be cleared for a massive multimillion­-rand housing development that will cater for the unemployed and middle-class professionals.

Three thousand houses will be built there.This is an initiative by the provincial Department of M Human Settlements, with Msunduzi Municipality as the implementing agent.The department plans to build 1 200 low-income subsidised houses, 1 500 serviced stands, and 300 social housing units at a cost of R330 million. This is part of several mega housing projects planned by Human­ Settlements across the province that aim to bring housing closer to the city.

The other development planned for Msunduzi Municipality is the Ethembeni integrated residential development that will cost R440 million. The government plans to eradicate the informal settlements at Ethembeni and improve infrastructure there.

Signal Hill is already the site of government flats. The area is a middle-class suburb nestled between Napierville and Prestbury.

In e-mails sent to ward councillor, Glen McArthur, residents raised complaints about traffic congestion, sewerage, water and electricity demands that could result because of the extra housing to be built.

Human Settlements MEC Ravi Pillay previously said these projects are intended to have a huge impact and transform apartheid spatial planning. Addressing the legislature recently, he said: “The National Development Plan dictates the transformation of such settlements into equitable efficient spaces where citizens­ live in close proximity to work opportunities, but at the same time have access to social and related amenities.”

Acting Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said: “This is an Integrated Residential Development Project [IRDP] which combines housing opportunities for different income groups.”

She said the project will cater for households with monthly incomes under R3 000 and provide social housing for households earning between R3 500 to R7 500 per month.

“The project caters for different income groups, including the unemployed and those that earn up to R3 500 per month who qualify for fully subsidised low-cost houses,” she said.

In addition, the project intends to also provide housing opportunities to middle-income groups through a credit-linked subsidy programme that allows people earning between R7 500 to R15 000 to access mortgage finance­ and a subsidy from the government.

She said the municipality was conducting a feasibility study and the project will be ready in three years.

The nearby informal settlement, Peace Valley, will also benefit.

“The informal settlement is within the boundary of the project and will benefit with low-cost housing units.”

Peace Valley (Ward 23) councillor Dumisani Phungula said they were not aware of the planned project, but would welcome it. “We have a shortage of housing in this area,” he said.McArthur said there has not been much clarity around the project, but there were forseeable challenges.

“We are aware of the fact that council’s sewerage systems will not be able to accommodate a further township of this magnitude. The present roads infrastructure will not cope with the extra traffic flow.”

He said schooling will also be a problem, as will recreational facilities. “Land has been set aside for this, but implementation plans have not been forwarded to me yet.”


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