Families have been waiting six years to be moved from Durban transit camp

eThekwini municipality has no explanation for delay and no timeline to offer

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Thozi Dlamini and neighbour Arina Ndawonde are still waiting to be moved from the transit camp. Photo: Manqulo Nyakombi

  • 13 families who were moved from Centre Road informal settlement in eThekwini to a transit camp six years ago are still waiting to be housed.
  • They were told they would only spend six months in Madamfana Transit Camp in Ntuzuma, west of Durban.
  • But they have been living there since 2017.
  • eThekwini municipality offered no reason for the delay and no timeline about when the families would be moved.

Thirteen families have been waiting for six years to be moved from the transit camp where they’ve been living since they had to leave an informal settlement in eThekwini.

The families were moved from Centre Road settlement in Newlands East to the Madamfana Transit Camp in Ntuzuma, west of Durban, in 2017. They were told it was to make way for a school and that they would be rehoused within six months.

But six years later they are still waiting.

Resident Nokukhanya Maduna said they had joined other families who were already living in the transit camp. The camp currently has 33 families. They share two toilets. There are other toilets but they have been blocked for two years, she says.

The area is low lying and when it rains water goes into the houses.

Maduna said municipal officials last visited them in 2018. She said they were told they would be moved to RDP houses in Cornubia, which is 19km away from Ntuzuma to the north.

“We are just stuck here. We don’t know what is happening,” said Maduna.

EThekwini Municipality Spokesperson Gugu Sisilana confirmed the plan was to move them to Cornubia once the project was completed. She acknowledged that there had been “some delays”.

Sisilana said an application for funding had been submitted to the national government for the construction of 22 units for the families in the camp. Asked when this application had been made, she did not answer clearly.

She said the City “has a short, medium and long-term relocation plan aiming to eradicate transit camps throughout the city”.

But residents said they are tired of waiting.

Thozi Dlamini, 68, who was also moved in 2017 from Centre Road, said the eThekwini Municipality had abandoned the families.

“If only I had known that they were lying when they were promising us RDP houses I would have refused to be moved. They do not respect us. These buildings are old and are very cold. Toilets are bad and are far from the houses. I’m too old to live like this,” said Dlamini.

She said she shares her house with her daughter and two grandchildren. Last year they were moved into a community hall during the floods. She had hoped that after that they would be moved to RDP houses. But instead they were sent back to the transit camp.

Maduna said since the municipality has failed to move them to the promised RDP houses, the least the municipality can do is to give them land so they can build themselves shacks.

PR councillor Zamani Khuzwayo (DA) said he had met the Madamfana residents and promised to go with them to the municipal offices.

Asked if she was aware of the living conditions in the camp, Sisilana said: “Yes there is a dedicated team responsible for the monitoring of transit camps”.

Asked when the toilets would be fixed, she said: “Inspection and maintenance will be done before end of September 2023”.

TOPICS:  Housing Local government

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Dear Editor

We are also in the same situation since 2010 in the Zamani Area opposite Malukazi. We were relocated to Zamani from Uganda (Isipingo Hills). These camps now have rusted, no toilets (toilets are damaged) and sewer reverses causing smell all over the place. Some of these camps have been destroyed by floods and nothing has been done by the municipality, as a result, shacks are now overtaking.

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