KwaZulu-Natal launches its asbestos roofing eradication programme, starting in Estcourt

KwaZulu-Natal has launched its programme to eradicate asbestos roofing. Picture: Supplied

KwaZulu-Natal has launched its programme to eradicate asbestos roofing. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 25, 2022


Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has launched its asbestos roofing eradication programme, kicking it off in Estcourt in the province’s Midlands.

The programme is aimed at replacing all roofing with asbestos roofing and it was launched on Tuesday.

Asbestos roofing is found to be the cause of the disease called asbestosis (a lung disease caused by continuously inhaling asbestos fibre), hence the drive to remove them.

This hazardous kind of roofing is found mainly in former black townships and the houses were built during the old days of the apartheid regime and Bantustan homeland governments.

Launching the programme on Tuesday, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba, the province’s MEC for human settlements and public works, said despite a 2008 South African ban on the production and use of asbestos roofing materials, thousands of residences in the vast coastal province still have asbestos roofs.

He added that in order to remove asbestos roofs in every section of the province, the department is working around the clock to complete all evaluations, make all necessary procurements, and select implementing agents.

“This significant project will serve as evidence of the department’s continued efforts to restore the dignity of our people and undo the terrible mistakes made by the previous tyrannical regime.

“Some of these homes are in dire need of repair, while others are in disrepair. We’ve set a deadline, especially for this ward, and our goal is to remove over 300 asbestos roofs by that time.

“The department is dedicated to moving this process along quickly, and we anticipate seeing results in the first quarter of 2023.”

Furthermore, Mahlaba said this project alone will provide more than 50 jobs for locals.

“The news of job creation and the quick start of this current development has been warmly received by the hundreds of joyful beneficiaries of this landmark endeavour.”

Other than Estcourt, other townships which still have houses are Umlazi and KwaMashu in Durban, Mondlo in Vryheid and parts of Mbali township in Pietermaritzburg.

Another province that has launched a similar project is the Free State. However, their project was allegedly marred by corruption.

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