A major new housing development is on the cards for the informal settlements along the N2, with the potential to bring relief to thousands of poverty-stricken families.
The areas include Lusaka, Barcelona, Kanana, Tsunami, Gxagxa and Thabo Mbeki. This emerged during a visit and an inspection of the affected areas by Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, on Thursday February 16.
According to Mr Madikizela, there have been no government housing developments in the area since 2002 due to a long-standing stalemate over land and conflict between community leaders and the government.
For many years residents in areas which make up what’s known as the Airport Precinct of the Southern Corridor, have lived in shacks, with limited access to taps and toilets. The department plans to deliver 7 400 housing units after the assessment.
Mr Madikizela told councillors and other community leaders that the government would not tolerate any fights that would disrupt the development. He said people on the government’s housing list would be prioritised when houses were allocated.
“This is the development that must benefit everyone. It should not be a development where people get houses because of the colour of their political party T-shirts. We need to agree that houses are allocated accordingly, to the right people. Let’s assist as leaders to finish the process,” he said.
Mr Madikizela cautioned, however, that government would not be able to accommodate everyone in the precinct and that some people would have to be relocated.
“Last year we conducted a survey to understand the dynamics of the area. We are aware that the number of people that are here now are more than what we had before. Those are some challenges that we face. But we want to correct the plight of our people. We want to speed up the process. What is good is that something is being done. My wish here is to have minimal relocation,” he said.
Michael Webster from Fairbrother Geotechnical Engineering, said it was important to determine what was required to provide sufficient stability for development of the land.
He said because of the history of the area, it was important to know what was needed and how to line up electric wires and pipes.
Ward councillor Bongani Ngcombolo said the development would bring major relief to the people. “We are aware that this is not enough, but we are excited people will finally get houses.
“I have more than 10 000 people in my area alone and the government is aiming at building 7 400 units. But I am really over the moon with the development. At last something is done. We are fully aware that this is not the end. There will be more developments. This one is a great relief,” he said.