The eThekwini Municipality has ploughed an additional R101 million into the first phase of the Cornubia Integrated Human Settlement Development to ensure its completion.
The funding will ensure completion of the eight sub-phases in Phase 1, of which one, Phase 1B, is already at implementation stage.
Attempts to find solutions to address the shortfall were reviewed and included seeking additional funds to make up the shortfall or reducing tender prices.
eThekwini Municipality City Manager Sibusiso Sithole said funding had to be approved to ensure that the City was able to meet its housing obligations.
“There is a sense of urgency in this matter as we have been dealing with it for months,” he said.
There are ongoing discussions between the municipality and the national and provincial government to ensure funding for human settlements is prioritised.
The R25 billion Cornubia housing and industrial project is a mixed-use, mixed-income, 1 200-hectare development, with 80 hectares earmarked for industrial development and the rest for commercial, housing and other social and public facilities, including schools, crèches, clinics, multi-purpose halls, police stations and post offices.
The project will target low, middle and upper income earners and will also include an industrial and commercial project that will provide residents with employment opportunities on their doorstep.
Once complete, the project will deliver close to 30 000 housing units and provide shelter to over 100 000 people.
The high-rise structures are similar to starter homes and consist of two bedrooms, a bathroom and toilet and as an open plan kitchen with lounge.
Last year more than 151 families, the majority from informal settlements, were relocated to Cornubia from various parts of the city.
Sthembiso Shezi, a visually impaired young man, was relocated with his wife and two kids to their new home.
“I am grateful for the housing opportunity given by government. Since the relocation I have registered a cooperative construction company, which has started to work and is helping me to support my family.”
Nigel Gumede Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee at the eThekwini Municipality said there is a demand for housing in the municipality and government has the responsibility of providing the service.
“We have identified a need and we must keep moving to provide this service,” he said.
Primary School for Cornubia’s residents
Learners living in Cornubia have access to education on their doorstep. Blackburn Primary School moved from a building owned by Tongaat Hulett in the informal settlement of Blackburn to a new premises in Cornubia.
Cornubia Housing Project :
The project is expected to deliver close to 30 000 housing units and provide shelter to over 100 000 people.
R25 billion is the total cost of the Cornubia housing and industrial project.
About 270 learners from Grade R to Grade Six attend Blackburn Primary School, located within Cornubia. This number is expected to increase to 600 next year.
The move, which took place recently, was funded by the Department of Education. The school’s relocation enables easier access for the large numbers of children living at the Cornubia housing project.
The new prefabricated housing accommodates 270 learners from Grade R to Grade Six and has seven teachers.
By next year the school, which has 24 classrooms, is expected to have between 500 and 600 learners and new teachers will be appointed to cater for the higher numbers.
“The move to the new school took place midway through the school year. Many of the children living in Cornubia had already enrolled at schools in surrounding areas. We are expecting them to move here next year as it is much closer and more convenient for them,” said Kevin Sevlall, the headmaster of Blackburn Primary School.
Sevlall said that the school is adjusting well to its new premises and that 52 children are attending the crèche, a larger number than at the previous premises.
“Many of the children are attending school for the first time and are enjoying their new learning experience,”
Sevlall said. Sevlall is hoping to set up a library at the new school, which will give learners the opportunity to further their education.
“The school is also a useful and accessible community resource outside of school hours, as a nearby church and community members make use of the facilities. ABET literacy classes are given in the evenings.”
Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced recently that international property investor, Investec Property, will build an 85 000 sqm shopping centre at the Cornubia housing project.
* Gugu Mdlalose works for eThekwini Municipality.