Project back on track

2018-11-05 15:03
An excited Thandekile Ngubane, flanked by Msunduzi speaker Jabu Ngubo and MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works Ravi Pillay, who officially handed over her completed house on Thursday last week. PHOTO: NOKUTHULA NTULI

An excited Thandekile Ngubane, flanked by Msunduzi speaker Jabu Ngubo and MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works Ravi Pillay, who officially handed over her completed house on Thursday last week. PHOTO: NOKUTHULA NTULI

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After waiting for more than five years since the concrete slabs were thrown, the residents of Mafakathini, in Vulindlela, will finally have their houses built.

The multi-billion rand Vulindlela project was welcomed with enthusiasm when it was approved in 2011.

It was expected to benefit 25 000 households across nine wards of Msunduzi but in 2012 hundreds of hopefuls were left with either slabs or half-built houses in their yards.

The affected families raised their concerns when former president Jacob Zuma visited the area in 2016 and an undertaking was made then to attend to the incomplete houses.

MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Ravi Pillay, recently visited the area to launch the beneficiary regularisation and incomplete slabs restoration programme.

Councillor Eunice Majola-Zondi, chairperson for Msunduzi’s portfolio committee for sustainable development and enterprise, said a project of a size of the one in Vulundlela was expected to have challenges.

“We had hoped that the challenges would be resolved sooner but we are glad that the project is now back on track and the people who were left with slabs will finally get their houses and the remainder of the units will also be built.”

To mark the launch, Pillay gave Thandekile Ngubane (53) the keys to her three-bedroom house.

Ngubane said she had lost hope that her house would ever be completed, adding: “When government officials came last week I didn’t want to be too excited when they told me that the slab was finally going to get walls and a roof.

“I only started believing that it was really happening when they started building.”

The mother of six said her family really needed the house as they were living in cramped conditions in their small two-bedroom home.

Pillay said more than 21 000 units had been built as part of the project and that 63 of those were part of the slabs restoration programme.

The houses were left incomplete when it was discovered that the beneficiaries had not been properly processed in terms of ensuring that they met the necessary requirements.

This halted the project because the state could not even pay for the work that had been done for the slabs — even though the project was budgeted for —until the issue of beneficiaries had been attended to.

“They had to go back and do the paperwork and show that these beneficiaries qualified before the payments could be released,” Pillay said.

He denied that the initial enthusiasm and haste that was seen when the project started and the recent attitudes were motivated by the then elections and the fact that Mafakathini would be going to the polls on Wednesday following the death of Jeffrey Ngcobo in June.

Speaker at Msunduzi, Jabu Ngubo said: “Those who don’t like to see progress will say this is being done because of elections, but the reality is that government has a responsibility to its people so it cannot stop doing its work just because we have elections coming up.”

Pillay also touched on the topical land expropriation issue and requested the traditional leaders in attendence to help the government clear up the “deliberate confusion” that had been created.

He said there was no intention to expropriate the Ingonyama Trust land.

“We want to take away land or expropriate land from those who got more than their fair share,” said Pillay.

Speaking on behalf of the Vulindlela Development Association, Inkosi Nsi­kayezwe Zondi, of Mpumuza Tribal Authority, said the community would continue to support government and would go out in numbers to vote if the state honoured its service delivery commitments.

“This project is special because previously people from the rural areas did not get housing from government,” Zondi added.

He also requested Pillay to consider allowing those who did not get to register for houses in 2011 to be allowed to do so now.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  housing

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