‘No shacks in KZN by 2010’ – minister

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‘No shacks in KZN by 2010’ – minister

November 05, 2006 Edition 2

Xolani Mbanjwa

Kwazulu-Natal housing MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu slammed the practise of shack-farming at the launch of a multi-million-rand slum-clearance project in KwaMbonambi near Richards Bay yesterday.

Addressing hundreds of people, Mabuyakhulu said his department wanted to eradicate all squatter camps in the province by 2010.

He said his department would pilot legislation giving municipalities more powers to deal with the scourge of land invasion and to stop the proliferation of slums.

The legislation has been presented to the cabinet and he hoped it would be passed in March next year.

Mabuyakhulu said once the Bill had been promulgated, municipalities would be required to come up with concrete measures to eradicate slums and prevent new ones from sprouting.

He also said he hoped that the legislation would help the government to get tough with people who turned the suffering of people living in squatter camps into a money-making racket.

“These unscrupulous ‘shack lords’ practise what we call shack-farming, where they own a number of informal settlements and charge people desperate for accommodation exorbitant rents.

When plans to provide proper and adequate housing are introduced, they lead campaigns against people being moved. In a nutshell, they see housing developments as a threat to their illegal business practise,” he said.

He said the KwaMbonambi slums-clearance project would see 500 families who currently lived in squalid conditions being built new houses. The government would plough R21.2 million into the project.

Mabuyakhulu praised landholder Sappi for making the land available. “The gesture by the company, so we can build houses for our people, is something that should be followed by other companies. We call on those who own land to make it available for the construction of houses,” he said.