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Thursday Mar 13, 2014

President Zuma to hand over Cornubia homes, rename project

The Cornubia housing development, north of Durban, will undergo a name change next month when President Jacob Zuma officially hands over the houses to the first families who would have moved in.

The development, part of the presidential housing project, will be officially handed over to residents - most of whom previously lived in informal settlements - on April 1.

City Manager Sbu Sithole told the eThekwini executive committee yesterday that the national department of human settlements had instructed the city to come up with a new name for the development so it can be unveiled when the president arrives.

As Cornubia is not the official name of the area, the city would not need to go through the usual public comment process and could decide on a new name through the municipality's governance and human resources committee, Exco was told.

Sithole said 154 families had moved into the first phase of the R100 million development. By the time Zuma hands over the homes, 328 families would have moved into the project. The city hopes to have 2 700 families living there by next March.

Sithole said tenders for the infrastructure on Phase 1B, consisting of 2 186 sites, have been awarded and two contractors on Phase 1B2 and 1B3 have begun with bulk earthworks.

The cost was estimated at R560m.

Sithole said the design for the first primary school had been finalised by the municipality's architecture department and approved by the education department. The tender document was being prepared.

A multi-purpose hall has been designed for the first cluster, to be used for public meetings, church services and functions, he said.

Sithole asked Exco to approve funding towards the launch next month. Other financial contributors include provincial and national department of human settlements and Tongaat Hulett.

Sithole could not give a figure of how much was required from the city for the launch as the cost had not yet been finalised.

The DA councillor, Heinz de Boer, said it was difficult to support the request without a cost implication.

He said he welcomed the development, but hoped next month's launch would not turn into a 'political sideshow' in the run-up to the general elections.

Patrick Pillay of the Minority Front said the name change should fit in with the dynamics of the area, and should not be politicised.

'We should showcase the success of our city and not turn it into a political event,' he said.

According to the municipality's annual report, the city is faced with a backlog of 404 000 housing units that would cost R54 billion. About a third of the city's population of around 3.5 million live in informal settlements. 'At current delivery and funding levels, this backlog will not be eradicated by 2050,' the report stated.

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