Eight contractors have been appointed to build much-needed Temporary Residential Units (TRUs) to assist communities displaced by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal and currently sheltered at mass care centres.
Highlighting government’s interventions to assist displaced communities, Human Settlements Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, said the provincial Department of Human Settlements has reprioritised R515.976 million — R367.013 million from the Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) and R148.963 million from the Informal Settlements Upgrading Partnership Grant (ISUPG).
“The provincial Department of Human Settlements has been able to appoint eight contractors from its panel to construct much needed TRUs to accommodate affected families in eThekwini Municipality, ILembe, Ugu and uMzinyathi Districts.
“A social facilitator has been attached to each mass care centre to identify affected families who have their own sites available to construct houses. In addition, the department is issuing orders for building material vouchers for residents who are rebuilding their own homes,” Kubayi said.
She said based on the disaster management cycle (mitigation, preparedness, initial response, recovery, and rehabilitation), the funding framework responds accordingly by making funds available for immediate relief, followed by funds for recovery.
“Funding for immediate response for KwaZulu-Natal, following the recent floods, includes own budget reprioritisation, immediate disaster response grants, and the reprioritisation of existing conditional grants,” she said.
Over 30 land parcels identified
Regarding progress on the land assembly, Kubayi announced that 38 land parcels were identified from the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, KZN Department of Public Works and eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, totalling 78 hectares.
Furthermore, she said a team of officials is conducting assessments on the 38 recommended properties.
“These sites are being released by the Department of Public Works through Power of Attorney. Of the 64 mass care centres, which have been used to temporarily house affected families, 38 have been linked with possible land parcels.
“All in all, about 3 385 people who were affected by the floods will be accommodated through the identified land parcels,” the Minister said.
During a meeting held on Tuesday night, Kubayi received a progress report on the purchase of land owned by Tongaat Hullet in La Mercy to build houses for the displaced communities.
In order to speed up the process of the construction of the TRUs and homes in acquired land parcels, the meeting agreed that the provincial Department of Human Settlements must be involved in the planning and provision of bulk infrastructure, including water and electricity.
Kubayi assured that the National Department of Human Settlements will continue to provide support with all its agencies.
“We acknowledge the frustration expressed by communities and assure them that all of us are committed to improve performance in addressing the plight of affected households,” Kubayi said.
Almost 200 serviced sites within eThekwini completed
Meanwhile, Kubayi said the physical verification of 199 serviced sites within eThekwini Metro has been completed and 65 sites were found to be suitable for the development of a permanent housing solution.
“Necessary assessments are also to be conducted on privately-owned land with a potential total yield of 1 172 houses,” she said.