Daily News articles on the rebuilding of Kennedy Road


The City is not doing a study to determione the feesibility of upgrading. The study was done some time ago and an agreement between Abahlali baseMjondolo and the City to upgrade the settlement was signed and publicly presented in the settlement in February 2009. It followed years of struggle by AbM against the state’s plans to ‘eradicate’ the settlement and for an insitu upgrade.

The new decision by the City to provide electricity to shack settlements is an important breakthrough and also follows years of struggle on this issue by AbM.

Kennedy Road might get brick houses at last

July 06, 2010 Edition 1


KENNEDY Road settlement residents’ waiting days may soon be over.

The eThekwini Municipality’s housing division is busy with a study to determine whether a portion of the settlement can be upgraded on the same plot of land, and for the rest of the residents to be relocated to the proposed 70 000-unit Cornubia housing project in the north of Durban.

Faizel Seedat, senior manager of planning in the city’s housing department, said yesterday that this was part of the city’s strategy to reduce the number of informal settlements in the region.

He was commenting in the wake of Kennedy Road’s latest fire, that left two people dead, and about 2 000 homeless.

“The residents have been told about the upgrade and relocation plans, and we are working on it,” said Seedat.

The Kennedy Road settlement is not the only settlement within the municipal boundaries needing urgent attention.

About 140 000 families live in just more than 400 informal settlements spread across the region. Amaoti, in Inanda, is the largest with about 14 000 families, according to Seedat.

This figure represents just informal settlement dwellings alone.

According to two different studies, the city has to cater for anything between 200 000 and 400 000 families that live in informal settlements, backyard shacks and traditional and rural dwellings.

Seedat’s department oversees the identification of land for development of housing projects.

The department also investigates whether informal settlements can be upgraded where they are, or whether there is a need for relocation.


Seedat said that since 1994, the city had built 150 000 houses a year, and this was subject to getting funding, which was the major challenge.

But the municipality was optimistic and hoping to make headway in erasing the backlog.

In the meantime, the city was intent on providing services such as water and electricity to the residents.

“While water and sanitation has been provided, we are now extending to providing electricity and building roads,” said Seedat.

This extension of the “package of interim services” started this month with the pilot projects in Kenville and Redcliffe, in Verulam.

Residents will be provided with a prepaid electricity meter, and will still qualify for a free basic quota of electricity.

“This would hopefully go towards ending the use of candles,” he said.

At the present rate, the informal settlement backlogs could be erased by 2043.

Each house costs about R86 000 to build, but Seedat said the city was building better houses than the provincial Human Settlements Department considered good housing.

Seedat said the growing number of settlements was a “cause for concern” and the fast rate of service delivery was a “magnet” to people coming into the city.

“We see a trend where larger families are splitting up and creating their own shacks in the settlement, so while the families are getting smaller, the number of units is growing,” he said.

To accommodate the masses, land was needed.

“Essentially, it is who can get to the land first and acquire it quickly, but you need money,” he said.


In the last couple of years the City has exploited fires to force people into the amatins. Dube’s promise to provide building materials breaks with that project and follows both the demand by AbM in this case and the new model prioneered by AbM and the City in Kennedy Road since 2007. Dube’s comments about the roads are self serving and ridiculous. AbM has been demanding that the state build access road for years!


Homes rapidly rebuilt after fire
Cold weather motivates shack dwellers

July 06, 2010 Edition 1


SOME of the shack dwellers at the Kennedy Road informal settlement could not wait for help to arrive after their homes went up in flames on Sunday morning.

It was cold and they had to have a roof over their heads as soon as possible and began rebuilding their shacks throughout the night.

There is confusion about how the fire started. Conflicting reports say that it was started by a candle on Sunday morning or by a paraffin stove bursting into flames.

The blaze cost two people their lives, destroyed more than 500 shacks and left about 2 000 people displaced.

The MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube, visited the affected people yesterday and sympathised with the residents about their living conditions.

Dube, in the Kennedy Road Hall, said the government had plans to assist people as it was aware that most victims had lost everything, including their ID books.

“We are trying to find means of helping you so that things can go back to normal,” she said.

She then asked them to co-operate with officials by leaving space for roads to be built “so that it will be easy for emergency personnel to get to you quickly during disasters”, she explained.

Dube said if there had been roads within the settlement there would have been less damage.

Apart from the food parcels donated by the Al Imdaad Foundation (AIF), Dube said, the government had also asked for baby formula from the foundation as there were many babies that had been left without milk.

She was met with applause when she promised that building material was on the way.

Nonhlanhla Ntuli, 33, who lost everything in the blaze, said she was more than happy to be moved from the settlement if it ever came to that because every day people lived a life of not knowing what was going to happen to their homes.

“You go to work and throughout the day, you worry about whether your shack is going to be there or not when you get back because life here is unpredictable,” she said.

Siyabonga Dlamini said the material that was supposed to be brought to them for shelter never arrived.

She had spent the night in the open helping neighbours rebuild their home from material salvaged from the blaze.

“You really cannot fall asleep in the cold. So we did the next best thing which was to keep busy,” he said.

And by yesterday morning, several shacks had already been rebuilt.

AIF national co-ordinator Yacoob Vahed said the organisation remained committed to providing aid to those affected by natural or man-made disasters, whether they occurred in South Africa or abroad.