ETHEKWINI’s service delivery commitment to eradicate informal settlements and improve living conditions of its residents was bolstered when Mayor Zandile Gumede launched a R120 million Emona Sunhill Housing Development in oThongathi on 27 August.

Mayor Gumede, accompanied by Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Chairperson Councillor Mondli Mthembu and various oThongathi councillors, addressed Ward 61 residents from three informal settlements – Harry’s Farm, Firehouse and Saturam.

A total of 1082 families from the three informal settlements will benefit from this multi-million rand housing development. Mayor Gumede also introduced the appointed contractor Stedone Development that has begun construction on site to implement civil work which includes earthworks for platforms, earthworks for the roads and asphalt roads, sewer and water reticulation. The contractor has committed to look for expertise like bricklaying and pipe laying in the community.

The housing development will be undertaken in phases, with Phase 1 consisting of 250 units and the project is expected to be completed in 12 months. “This community has waited patiently for the housing development to begin and this was due to studies that had to be done before any construction work could begin. Now that the studies have been finalised and we are pleased with the outcomes, we are giving this project the green light.

During the construction of this housing project, employment opportunities will be created for the residents,” said Mayor Gumede. After the civil work is complete, the top structure which is the construction of the houses and connection to services will commence. To ensure that residents have an adequate supply of water, an upgrade of a reservoir will be done while the project is under construction. When Mayor Gumede delivered her acceptance speech in 2016 when the new Council came into office, she committed to ensuring that people living in flood plains, informal settlements and backyards receive priority from a development point of view.

During the launch, Councillor Mthembu said Council was aware of the challenges facing residents in the various oThongathi informal settlements. “We will prioritise basic services like electricity for this community. We commit to convening another meeting with the City’s Electricity Unit and residents to discuss plans of electrifi cation,” he said.