New housing project on cards in Durban

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

The eThekwini municipality's executive committee is negotiating the release of vast tracts of privately owned land for a low- and middle-income housing project in the affluent north of Durban area.

The 1200 hectares of land in Cornubia, Mount Edgecombe North, is owned by Tongaat-Hulett Developments.

Negotiations are under way with a private land developer to release the land to the city.

Though the land has the potential of generating more than 73000 units, the municipality intends to build 25000 low- and middleincome units in the first phase of the project.

The chairman of the city's housing, cleansing, solid waste and human resources committee, Nigel Gumede, said the Cornubia project would first cater for earners in low- and middle-income brackets and later for upperincome earners.

He said the project would start in less than six months once the city had signed a memorandum of understanding with TongaatHulett.

Gumede said talks with Tongaat-Hulett were promising and the company had shown a willingness to work with the city.

"It is envisaged that a combination of double-storey, row, walk-up and other housing typologies will be developed to maximise the full capacity of Cornubia," he said.

eThekwini mayor Obed Mlaba said the aim was to meet the city's target of eradicating all slums by 2014 and promoting economic activity in the north of the city.

"Currently most of the industries are concentrated in the south of the city," Mlaba said. "So we have opted for an integrated approach that will provide housing and employment opportunities in the north of thecity."

He likened the project to Cosmo City in Johannesburg.

"I've heard that Cosmo City is huge - and this one is going to be massive," he said.

In the first phase 15000 houses will be built for the low-income bracket, those earning up to R1500 a month, and 10000 houses will be built for middle-income earners, those earning between R1500 and R3500.