Namibia Stop 8

LAUNCH DATE:  2010

LOCATION:  Namibia Stop 8 is a housing project, located on Haffajee’s Land in the Ethekwini northern region, Inanda, on the outskirts of Durban in the South African province KwaZuluNatal.  It is bordered by Emtshebeni Phase 1 in the North, Congo in the East, Stop 8 in the South and Amatikwe in the West.  FEDUP has been allocated a portion of the 90 hectares of greenfields to construct 96 units.

IMPLEMENTING ORGANIZATIONS:  FEDUP, Utshani Fund, Ethekwini Municipality, Kwa-Zulu Natal Provincial Department of Housing, Lombard Insurance

CONTEXT: This is the first project in the province under “the pledge,” made by former Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu for 1000 house subsidies per province per year.

Namibia Stop 8 came into existence in the early 1960s when people moved from rural areas into the city, hoping to find jobs. The settlement is close to several factories. The community began to build permanent structures, as it became their adopted home. A lot of the residents saw their move as a temporary measure, and they had planned to return to the rural areas. However, as the rural areas continued to decline as a viable place to live, whole families began to reside in Stop 8.

The area was later incorporated into the five-year Housing Plan of Ethekwini Municipality. In 2005 preliminary studies were done in preparation of a housing development for the whole area. An enumeration was proposed by FEDUP to determine the population of the area in relation to the land size. This was never undertaken as the pre-feasibility studies done by the Municipality overtook the whole process. Pre-planning and land audits were quickly undertaken, whose results revealed that this specific piece of land could not accommodate the total number of households that existed within the project boundary.

PROJECT IMPACT: The informal settlement plus the greenfield project comprises about 2500 structures with an estimated 10,000 people living there. The relocation and in situ housing upgrading affects about 1000 of these dwellers directly. However, the improvement in basic services impacts on the whole settlement. Also the skills transfer and thus better chances for employment through the introduction of CCMT construction teams, positively influences the labour situation at Namibia Stop 8.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: As described above, due to overpopulation, floods and fire, it became inevitable that beneficiaries would need to be moved to a greenfield site. Vacant land of approximately 90 hectares was identified within the vicinity and general planning ensued. As the Municipality moved to start putting in bulk infrastructure, like roads and sewer lines, it became evident that there were several permanent structures that lay in their projected plans. The Municipality did an evaluation and, of the 790 people they identified as in the way of services, 96 were FEDUP members who subsequently became part of the first phase out of a total of 250 members. The remaining balance of 154 will form part of the phase 2 in-situ upgrade project.

The construction process of phase 1 which started last year has reached the final stages. All 96 houses should be finished by July this year.  Several inspections were conducted by building advisors from the Department of Human Settlements and from Ethekwini Municipality. A meeting held with the councillor on 1 November 2010 revealed that the Development Committee is impressed with the houses built by FEDUP and wants to strengthen the working relationship and embrace the FEDUP process as they feel that they have learnt a lot from the people’s process.

The beneficiaries were given an opportunity in the pre-planning phase of the project to produce a desirable structure which turned out to be 50m2 in size. With the assistance of Utshani fund and Lombard Insurance, the beneficiaries agreed that they would have a standard 50m2 for everybody to save time and be able to do costing effectively within the subsidy band. The construction method entails construction by community contractors and construction management teams (CCMTs), supervised by technical support (Utshani Fund) and approved professional supervisory contractors.

The costing of the houses was two-fold:

Complete structure from foundation to roof level(on vacant site)

The cost of construction for the 50m2 house from the foundation to the roof level has been calculated at R68 104.37 including labour and contingencies.

Extension of 40m2 slab to roof level  (on sites with Municipality slabs)

The cost of extending the 40m2 slab to a 50m2 and construction of top structure to roof level is calculated at R56 104.37including labour and contingencies.

The houses have been financed through the national housing subsidy system, and the Municipality is acting as the Accounts Administrator who transfers the funds to Utshani. Upfront funding  was agreed upon with the Municipality. The first 30 houses were completed in March of this year, as per agreement six months after the release of the funds.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Empowerment, skills transfer and job creation– For women mainly, this has been a life-changing experience and their centrality in the development has been pivotal.
  • FEDUP will utilize the project as a means to mobilize the beneficiary community and consolidate the rituals of SDI and FEDUP, as outlined in the MOU (mobilization of community into savings collective, strengthen existing savings collectives, etc).
  • This has a helped gain the full support of the KZN provincial government and revived their enthusiasm for a people-driven initiative
  • The introduction of a Community Construction Management Team (CCMT) has empowered the beneficiaries with a sense of ownership and overall control of their process.

PROJECTED OUTCOMES: A working agreement (MOU) was signed between Utshani Fund, FEDUP and the Ethekwini Municipality with the Municipality agreeing to pre-finance the project before the subsidies were approved by the Provincial Department of Human Settlements. With this agreement the partnership has demonstrated the trust and understanding they share in working together towards the eradication of slums and the promotion of an Enhanced People’s Housing Process (EPHP). The communities  are enthusiastic that they own the process and the end product thereof. Following the Kroonstad example of the upfront release of subsidies, this partnership is another example which can be replicated in other provinces to allow the roll-out of an EPHP process. Furthermore, this project provides evidence to allow proper assessment and evaluation of the EPHP by government as a whole, in order to be able to offer the so much needed support for FEDUP  to enhance delivery of the houses at scale, not only for FEDUP members but in most informal settlements nationally.

CONSTRAINTS: Initially cooperation and communication with the Municipality was difficult. Only towards the finalization of the first 30 houses, the situation improved. The Municipality for instance hesitated to make the payment for the Establishment and Facilitation grant, alleging that there first had to be proof that all the enlisted beneficiaries qualify for the housing subsidy. The building inspectors who came to do the inspection used a lot of ‘red tape’ on the houses and went in some instances beyond the specifications that had originally been submitted to them.

In the last few weeks, there has been a huge improvement in the willingness of the Municipality, the Councillor and the Development Committee to work with FEDUP on the construction of the houses. The community itself, also non-FEDUP members, has from the beginning shown a keen interest in the people’s process. The second phase which will start later this year will continue to promote the process. FEDUP members have agreed to guard against any vandalism as they await the installation of water and electricity in the finished houses.