Durban – EThekwini Municipality has cited land invasions from informal settlements and lack of available land for construction of houses as the primary cause for people staying in transit camps for long periods of time.
This is in response to a report from the ad hoc committee in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature on land-related complaints which revealed among other things, that there were people who had lived in transit camps since 2009.
Tabled two weeks ago, the report gave a snapshot on the challenges for people living in transit camps under unhygienic conditions, and high crime levels in eThekwini. The residents spoke of the difficulty of living in one-room dwellings, and how this amounted to them being stripped of their dignity. They expressed little hope of ever getting out of the transit camps, adding that they felt neglected by eThekwini Municipality.
Responding to this, eThekwini Municipality’s head of communications Lindiwe Khuzwayo conceded that there was a high demand for houses.
“The City is faced with a number of challenges that hinders the smooth and prompt response towards the eradication of transit camps throughout the City. We have managed to do the best we can given the circumstances as over the years over 2000 families have been relocated from transit camps to proper houses,” said Khuzwayo.
She pointed out that while the government was doing its best, the difficulty in finding land for housing projects was the main challenge.
“The unavailability of strategic land in the government ownership has been a delay as most available land is privately owned and had to be budgeted and acquired prior to any planning works. The bulk infrastructure availability and capacity to take more projects has caused delays in new projects planned to eradicate transit camps,” Khuzwayo continued.
She stressed that despite the challenges, there is a relocation plan for temporary residential accommodation that is planned to eradicate all these transit camps by the end of 2025.