Makhanda to provide serviced sites instead of houses

City unable to cope with rise in housing needs

| By

People erect shacks on Wednesday in Extension 7, Makhanda. Since 2020, over 600 households have built shacks here. The Eastern Cape government says the Makana Municipality has no capacity to provide the bulk infrastructure necessary for formal housing developments. Photos: Loyiso Dyongman

The Makana Municipality does not currently have the capacity to provide the infrastructure needed for housing projects. Yanga Funani, the spokesperson for the Eastern Cape MEC for Human Settlements, told this to GroundUp in reply to a question about the lack of RDP housing projects.

With little formal housing being developed, there has been an increase in informal settlements. But Funani blamed the spread of informal settlements for hindering development and planning.

Unable to provide more formal housing, government has instead started a process of “upgrading” informal settlements in Makhanda, such as the electrification and provision of communal water taps in Enkanini informal settlement. Here some people have built homes of bricks and mortar themselves.

People in Makhanda’s Extension 7 eagerly await their turn for an upgrade, but no timelines have been given.

According to Funani, the consultants were appointed on 4 August to assess and upgrade the municipality’s informal settlements.

Lusizo Buwa, a pensioner living in Extension 7, said she had given up any hope of having her own RDP house one day. But she does welcome the idea of “formalising” the area by providing taps and electricity to homes.

“The reason I came here is that I no longer want to cut my old age pension in half by paying rent to a landlord,” she said.

Buwa is among over 600 households who have occupied municipal land in Extension 7, since 2020. Residents we spoke to said they want the municipality to promise in writing that they will get electricity and water.

“We were living like animals in this place,” said Nomawethu Solomons, who moved to Extension 7 in February 2021. She shares a shack with her husband and their seven-year-old son. They are now both unemployed and depend on their child’s social grant.

Municipal spokespeople Yoliswa Ramlolo did not respond to our questions.

However, a source within the municipality said there are no formal housing projects in the pipeline. The last one was in Extension 10, many years ago.

The municipality remains under severe financial strain.

“The municipality should not worry about houses, because we know that will take forever … They should prioritise formalising the area, so people can have taps and electricity in their homes,” said Lusizo Buwa, pictured here outside her shack in an informal settlement on land in Extension 7, Makhanda.

TOPICS:  Housing Local government

Next:  The President came, the President went, and nothing changed

Previous:  R23-million Tsomo centre unfinished after seven years

© 2022 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

We put an invisible pixel in the article so that we can count traffic to republishers. All analytics tools are solely on our servers. We do not give our logs to any third party. Logs are deleted after two weeks. We do not use any IP address identifying information except to count regional traffic. We are solely interested in counting hits, not tracking users. If you republish, please do not delete the invisible pixel.