Housing project under fire
There was mixed reaction from residents to a R572million housing project designed to relocate them away from direct industrial pollution emissions in the south Durban basin.
Thousands of families in Wentworth and Austerville have for years been battling the polluted fumes from the Engen refinery, which is a stone's throw from their homes.
The KwaZulu-Natal government has invested more than R30million to build 128 flat units to move those most affected by the industrial pollution.
Abigail Applegreen, 44, said she welcomed the project.
"The move means change to our lives. But we cannot move out of our old houses if the government moves us to smaller flats."
Brian Brown rejected the new development, saying he needs a proper house.
"I want a place where my children can be able to play. Some of us have objections because we need proper consultation before we move."
Desmond D'sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance said he was shocked by the government's decision to take "a community's plight and turn it into a political spectacle".
"We were never consulted on this development. We have been lobbying against the pollution and toxic emissions for over three years."
He said at the last elections the government came with the same promise but nothing happened. He does not believe that building new flats will solve their problems.
Provincial housing MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said the new project was a response to the plight of the community.
"We are responding to the community's call that they made to former president Thabo Mbeki and the ANC's Gwede Mantashe when they visited the area," he said.
Mabuyakhulu said his department will build 128 flat units. Each flat has two bed-rooms, a kitchen and a lounge.
The department has also invested R572million to improve flats in the area.