African National Congress KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala at a media breakfast in Durban. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Durban – Land invasions in KwaZulu-Natal would not be tolerated, the chairman of the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, said on Tuesday.

“We are going to ensure that land invasions will not be tolerated. It is extreme left-wing groups like [Black First Land First]” that were pushing for illegal occupations, he said.

Zikalala was addressing editors, journalists and political analysts at the Coastlands Hotel in Musgrave. The informal gathering was organised by the provincial ANC to clarify any issues regarding the party’s recently launched election manifesto.

Zikalala said that on Friday last week, the provincial government won a court case against land invaders. 

“The department of human settlements and eThekwini municipality went to court – courts have said before you cannot evict people without providing alternative settlement. We went to court and contested that and we won. We can now evict a person from putting shelters on [unoccupied] land.  We are going to implement that decision, because this is something that has been frustrating us,” he said.

Speaking about the housing needs of those in the lower end of the middle class, Zikalala said people in this sphere did not qualify for RDP housing and could not access many other government services because of their income bracket.

Government was thus looking to start two projects, one to benefit those in this income bracket and for those who were indigent work seekers.

“We will be creating decent informal settlements where we will have sites with bulk services,” he said. This would accommodate rapid urbanisation of homeless work seekers in KZN.

Urbanisation was dictating that government was not going to meet the demand for affordable housing, he said.

“As government we have agreed that we create sites where people will be able to stay, build their own informal houses but have access to electricity and water.” The settlements would be well designed, with road access and “good” sanitation systems, he said.

Government was also trying to support those in the middle class, who could not afford housing, to ensure they had access to “decent sites where they can build houses," said Zikalala.  

This would be done with the assistance of government and banks like “Ithala” and “one of the private banks”, said Zikalala.

Ithala Bank is a development finance institution wholly owned by the provincial government.

“The middle class has been complaining... they will tell you life is not as easy as it was five or 10 years ago,” he said. To accommodate those in this income bracket, projects such as Cornubia would be scaled-up, he said.

Developments in other areas, similar to the Cornubia model, would also be launched, he said.

Cornubia is a mixed-use, mixed-income development and is a joint venture between sugar giant Tongaat Hulett and eThekwini Municipality. According to the municipality, Cornubia has the potential to provide about 24 000 homes.

Zikalala said that in 10 years’ time, KwaZulu-Natal would be vastly different.

Pietermaritzburg and Durban would be connected, he said, and a high-speed train would link the two to each other and to King Shaka International Airport. There was also the possibility of a mid-way town between the cities. “But we are not rushing things,” he said.

African News Agency/ANA