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Monday Oct 20, 2014

Plan for Durban 'burial site' housing under fire

Clare Estate residents are opposing the eThekwini Municipality's plan to turn an alleged ancestral burial site into low-cost housing. The land at Dodoma Avenue has also been used as a prayer site for over 80 years.

Social activist and former Clare Estate Ratepayers' Association member Dennis Pillay said: 'I have liaised with role players on this matter for a long time. Ultimately, if the project does go ahead, council must first get the full buy-in of all role players, including the families of any deceased who might be buried here.'

Ward councillor Obed Ngcobo said: 'I want people in my ward to get adequate housing, but I also believe in upholding cultural and religious rights.'

Ros Devereux of Amafa said: 'Heritage legislation also protects graves outside formal cemeteries that are not under the control of a body like the municipality. This site has local importance and would be classified under the National Heritage Resources Act.'

Ethekwini head of communications Tozi Mthethwa said houses would be built on the property. She said the houses were needed, given the many residents in the area living in informal settlements.

'This site can help the city address its housing backlog. Dodoma Avenue is targeted with Barton Place and Kennedy Road for housing development.

'It is zoned residential and does not meet the planning requirements for a cemetery.

'The site will take 78 families from Kennedy Road with 666 accommodated in the entire project.'

She said affected parties had been informed of the plans at meetings in the past two years.

'A Heritage Impact Assessment Report was sent to Amafa in compliance with section 38 of the National Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999 as amended.

'Amafa responded with a letter that the development should not proceed unless the Gokul family and Clare Estate Ratepayers' Association approved the development. The council does not accept the response and intends to appeal.'

Sunday Tribune

    
 

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