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Residents cry foul over 'poor' housing plan

By Mhlaba Memela | Sep 04, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A HOUSING development that was set to change the lives of the community of Wentworth, south of Durban, has sparked controversy between residents and the eThekwini municipality.

The housing project, designed to relocate residents from industrial pollution, cost R572million.

The provincial government has also invested an additional R30million to build 128 flat units to move those most affected by the industrial pollution.

But the residents of the Rainbow Barracks complex have accused city bosses of failing to consult them, saying no agreement was reached on the nature of the units, resulting in several protests by aggrieved beneficiaries.

They have been living not far from the oil refinery for 36 years.

Spokesperson Oliver Meth, who is based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Centre for Civil Society, said the new units were small, structurally weak and built from poor materials.

He said the plots and layout would prevent the residents from developing their homes to better livelihoods and ultimately to a sustainable community.

Yunus Sacoor of eThekwini municipality said the project would go ahead and those who chose not to relocate would have their units allocated to others.

He said meetings were held with residents from the start of the project.

He said a facilitator chosen by the community was placed on site and addressed residents' concerns.

"The development is similar to any other social housing project and the cost per unit is over R350000," said Sacoor.


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