Province halts Dunoon housing project

The site for the R217 million temporary housing project that has now been halted by the provincial Department of Infrastructure is 1.3km north of the Killarney Raceway and about the size of three-and-a-half rugby fields. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

A R217 million project to house some 1500 Dunoon families has been halted and is under review, says the provincial Department of Infrastructure.

The project, which was billed as a Covid-19 counter-measure to alleviate the overcrowding in Dunoon, was introduced in 2020 by former Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu with June 2024 set as the completion date (“Dunoon housing on track for 2024,” Tabletalk, June 29, 2022).

But the Department of Infrastructure last week announced it had revised the plans for the project and was reviewing its budget to provide a long-term and permanent solution to the housing crisis in Dunoon.

Department spokesman Jandre Bakker said the provincial government had acquired the land in 2018 to develop an integrated human settlement that would serve various communities in the surrounding area.

According to the plan introduced by Ms Sisulu, the site, which is 1.3km north of the Killarney Raceway and about the size of three-and-a half rugby fields, would have offered only temporary housing to 1500 families, but post-pandemic, the department had to consider a long-term plan, which could possibly only accommodate 500 of those families, he said (“Dunoon’s Covid-19 housing plan still on drawing board,” Tabletalk, June 2021).

The original plan was for duplex-style 40m² Breaking New Ground (BNG) housing, but that plan was now being revised and the housing typology could change with it, said Mr Bakker, adding that the completion of the project would depend on the revised site-development plan.

“It is anticipated that the current challenges will be resolved in the second quarter of 2024/2025 financial year, at which stage the milestones and timelines for the project will be finalised.”

To date, R26m had been spent on fencing and site clearance, bulk civil works and professional fees, he said.

In terms of the National Housing Code’s qualifying criteria for housing beneficiaries, priority would be given to the elderly, the disabled, child-headed households and those who had been on the City’s housing demand database for the longest, he said.

Ginger Matomela, a Dunoon resident who spearheaded the formation of the Housing Crisis Forum in 2022 said: “Tensions are high in Dunoon because people are fed up with empty promises made by the government and the City.”

The national Department of Human Settlements referred our emailed questions to the provincial Department of Infrastructure.