Mercury: Cornubia ‘the way to go’

Cornubia ‘the way to go’
Low-cost housing blueprint for future

August 22, 2008 Edition 1

Matthew Savides

INTEGRATED communities, like the proposed 1 200ha multi-use Cornubia development near Umhlanga, are “absolutely the right way to go” for future integrated developments in the country.

This is the view of KwaZulu-Natal Institute of Architects president Ivor Daniel, who said it was important that all low-cost housing developments were carefully planned so that employment opportunities were nearby and they promoted a sense of community.

He was speaking in the wake of an announcement at Tuesday’s eThekwini Municipality executive committee meeting that the municipality would consider expropriating the Tongaat-Hulett Developments-owned sugar cane field north of Durban if negotiations around the development failed.

In a newsletter, municipal manager Michael Sutcliffe said the development had huge potential for the municipality and it had to be carefully planned.


The development is near the Gateway shopping centre, Sibaya Casino and King Shaka International Airport, and has prompted fears that nearby properties might lose value when the 25 000 low-cost houses are built.

Deputy mayor Logie Naidoo said “buffer zones” would be created to ensure that there was no effect on neighbouring property prices.

Daniel said these areas should be used effectively. Parks, sports fields and other community-based facilities that all residents, irrespective of their income group, could use would be ideal.

Daniel added that it was vital that the low-cost houses were not developed in isolation, but that the planning was done so that people could work and play in areas easily accessible from their homes. Failure to do so would perpetuate apartheid separation policies.

Daniel said the type of housing built would also be important, and emphasised the need for efficient use of space.

To this end, double-storey or even high-rise housing could be developed, and some businesses could have flats built above them. This would also save on the infrastructure needed.

Sutcliffe said the size of the site meant it had huge potential for the future of the municipality.

“We must, therefore, plan it carefully and that is why it has taken some time to develop the conceptual framework to guide future development,” he said.

Light industry, retail and commercial properties would be included, and care would be taken to ensure environmentally sensitive land was protected, he added.

“It will ensure we become a more caring city, integrating people all across it.”

Sutcliffe said the process was not being driven by “political imperative” but rather “by how we can make the development most sustainable to the city and the land owner”.

“I am very excited that if we get it right, Cornubia will provide the first real opportunity to build a city based on the principles underpinning our constitution, and not those which defined our apartheid past.

“It will have a CBD geared up for mixed and high-density use, and has a spatial locational advantage which will allow the northern corridor of the city to continue to expand rapidly.”

Nathi Olifant reports that housing MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, speaking at the official opening of a R70 million low-cost housing development outside Pietermaritzburg yesterday, said the government had a constitutional and legal mandate to expropriate land where negotiations to transfer property for development failed.

He was aware of the ongoing dispute between the municipality and Tongaat-Hulett over Cornubia and hoped it would be resolved “in the best interests of our people”.

Mabuyakhulu said the government was open-minded on the matter and would not allow any friction between the parties involved to impede its public-private partnership goals.