‘Migrants’ are fuelling Durban’s housing backlog

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Copy of land invaders INLSA Land invaders arriving in droves to clear the forest outside the Cato Crest Stadium. Picture: Patrick Mtolo

Durban - People from other provinces are fuelling Durban’s housing backlog, and fanning the flames of protest, as seen this past week in unrest in Cato Crest.

eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo and the chairman of the council’s human settlements committee, Nigel Gumede, said people coming to Durban from other parts of KZN, and from other provinces such as the Eastern Cape, were arriving in Durban and demanding homes.

“This places a greater burden on the housing demand as there is a moving target of the number of people who need homes,” said Thabo Mofokeng, city spokesman.

He was echoing the comments made by Nxumalo in television news inserts earlier this week, after close to 1 000 shack dwellers chopped down trees and removed bush in land along Sherwood and Cato Crest to set up home there, while demanding that eThekwini Municipality provide them with houses.

The shack dwellers were angry after their shacks were demolished last week to make way for a housing development in Cato Crest. They named their new land “Marikana”. Police had to be called in to contain the situation.

Mofokeng said the mayor stated that a lot of people were migrating to Durban, and people were coming from far reaches of KZN and from the Eastern Cape.

Gumede, however, took a harder stance and said people arriving in Durban from other provinces come to Durban because of the city’s good service delivery record.

“But then you have people coming from the Eastern Cape, who get a house, and then they sell that house and go back to the Eastern Cape; that is not right,” said Gumede.

He said national government needed to ensure there was service delivery in rural areas so people wouldn’t have to move far to live better lives.

Today Nxumalo will be holding a meeting with the disgruntled people to hear their concerns. “The mayor will listen to their complaints, but urge them to not embark on this type of action, as the city is completely against such actions,” said Mofokeng.

He emphasised that people cannot jump the queue to obtain a home.

* According to an unconfirmed report a Cato Crest resident was beaten to death last night. Thembinkosi Qumbelo, president of the Cato Crest Residents Association, was allegedly assaulted by angry land invaders who hurled stones at him while calling him a traitor for agreeing to meet police and political officials to discuss the contentious issue.

“They beat him up with sticks while others threw stones at him,” said a resident, who asked not to be named for fear of being victimised.

Earlier this week Qumbelo was quoted in the Daily News as saying that the invaders were chased away by people whose shacks had been demolished to make way for flats. He had said the invaders came from Chesterville, Bhambayi and uMlazi.

Independent on Saturday



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