A housing development planned for military veterans has been met with opposition from some of the ratepayers neighbouring the proposed site in the Bisley area.
They say there was a lack of public consultation by Msunduzi, which has not considered how the proposed development could impact on them and the neighbouring Bisley Nature Reserve. While it has not been confirmed, they also believe that the housing will be for Mkhonto Wesizwe Military Vets (MK Vets) as there had been reports that government was looking to build housing for them after a large group invaded the Aloe Ridge housing complex.
Some of the Bisley residents apparently “stumbled” on the notice for the application for the environmental authorisation which was posted on the proposed site that neighbours Remington Park.
According to the notice, the proposed project will include 101 residential units, new public roads as well as a taxi and bus rank. The development footprint of the proposed housing development is approximately 8,30 hectares in extent.
“The proposed project aims to increase the capacity and number of homes made available to the military veterans. The proposed development aims to provide better services and facilities to veteran residents as well as the future residents that will form part of the development.”
Remington resident Buyi Makhoba-Dlamini said they were not against the government building housing for the veterans but their concerns had to do with the proposed site. She said her family bought into the area in 2010 because they believed it was a safe place to raise their children and also loved that it was close to the nature reserve.
“Now they not only want to move the MK vets here but they also want to build a taxi rank. There’s most likely going to be liquor sold there and the traffic is going to be unbearable in the mornings and afternoons.”
Makhoba-Dlamini was also concerned about the impact the development would have on the value of their properties.
“As ratepayers I believe the municipality owes us a meeting where they will tell us more about this development and also take our concerns into consideration,” she said.
Chairperson of the Remington Park body corporate, Nicholas Arokiam, said it was concerning that they had not been consulted about the project even though they were directly affected by the development.
“In terms of the adverse impact on the nature reserve, which is adjacent to us, I feel that there hasn’t been proper consultation in terms of the environmental aspect of it. More disturbing is that they’re proposing a taxi rank and bus stop within the project, which I don’t see any justification for.” Arokiam said the lack of forthright information created a cloud of uncertainty around the project and that made ratepayers very uneasy. “I feel like it’s a very wrong way of carrying out a project because people must be given information so that they can make decisions,” he said.
Another Bisley resident, who wished not to be named, said the project would definitely drop the value of the properties in suburbs in the area as the development would consist of common houses with basic building material.
“The strain on our water and infrastructure, sewerage and electricity demand will be affected for sure.”
She said the increase in traffic volume will also cause distress on the animals at the Bisley Nature Reserve.
“It’s not racist, political, and religious or any other matter but more economical and environmental …
“The unfairness is that the MK vets are noted for living rent free and not paying utilities. As they stated in the media most of them are unemployed. So the paying across the road are going to bear the brunt for this.”
She said there was plenty of vacant land around Msunduzi that government could buy for the project without disrupting other suburbs.
Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha had not responded to The Witness’ questions at the time of publication.
Attempts to get comment from the MK vets regional leadership were unsuccessful.