South Africa: R1.3 Billion Housing Project to Accommodate All Races

By Sydney Masinga

Emalahleni - An agreement has been signed to build a R1.3 billion integrated housing settlement in Emalahleni (formerly Witbank).

Representatives of the Emalahleni Local Municipality, ABSA and the Mpumalanga Department of Housing have signed an agreement to build the Klarinet housing project on 280-hectares of land, starting in January.

"Funding for the project is derived from subsidies from the provincial department, while top up funds will come from ABSA and Emalahleni," said ABSA spokesperson Ajith Bridgraj.

The development will be built over six years.

A total of 6 247 subsidised housing units, 2 322 apartments, 3 900 bonded housing units and a range of social facilities and amenities including schools, clinics, community centres and a cemetery will be built. The area will also have its own shopping mall.

Klarinet will be developed by ABSA Property Development, or Absa Devco, and is part of the national housing department's Breaking New Ground initiative.

All the parties involved in the project wanted to create a quality work-live-play environment to promote the development of sustainable, non-racial societies.

Acting Mayor of Emalahleni, Zingisa Mbuku, said the project would help the municipality in its attempts to eradicate all informal settlements by 2014.

"It is encouraging to note that the project is truly integrated in that it caters for a range of housing typologies, giving consumers a choice between rental and full ownership accommodation," he said.

He said apart from offering people the privilege of owning their own home in a friendly, safe and pleasing environment, the Klarinet project also contributed towards job creation.

Managing Director of Absa Devco, Sipho Mashinini agrees: "This project gives ABSA the opportunity to partner with government in the areas of housing delivery, job creation and poverty alleviation. It is our way of giving back to the communities that support us."

ABSA is not new to working with government on housing developments. The bank is involved in a pilot project, the Olievenhoutbosch ministerial housing project in Pretoria. - BuaNews