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The Hospital Street Social Housing project took center stage on Friday, 28 October 2022, with the MEC for KZN Human Settlements and Public Works, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba performing an oversight of the multi-million Rand project.
The housing project initially kicked off on 14 October 2020, after the now MEC and former Newcastle Mayor, Dr Mahlaba, announced the initiative during a soil turning ceremony. At the time, Dr Mahlaba pointed out that the housing project would change the face of Newcastle, bringing people closer to economic activity.
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With a price tag of just over R387 million, the last time the project was inspected, was on 21 February 2022, when the former MEC for KZN Human Settlements and Public Works, Jomo Sibiya, visited Newcastle to receive technical reports on the project.
At the time, Sibiya explained that the project formed part of the Department’s determination to expand its affordable rental housing footprint beyond the urban centres. He additionally highlighted that they were playing an active role in terms of stimulating local economic investment by using construction and the built environment as a catalyst.
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During his visit on Friday, Dr Mahlaba observed the physical progress made while requesting that he be given a full rundown on the current progress. The project is expected to be completed by January 2024. When done, it will sport 54 residential blocks, 1056 units, one refuse building, two guard houses and an admin building.
To date, the social housing project progress stands as follows:
- Site establishment – 100% complete
- Site clearance – 100% complete
- Boundary wall – 95% complete
- Refuse building – 98% complete
- Admin block – 98% complete
- Sewer reticulation – 100% complete
- Stormwater reticulation – 100% complete
- Reducing of levels (platforms) – 100% complete
- Filling and compaction of G5 (platforms) – 100% complete with all 54 platforms having been filled with G5
- Excavation and soil poisoning – All 54 blocks have been complete
- DPM and reinforcement – 39 blocks complete (steel fixing)
- Ground floor concrete slabs – 34 blocks casted
- Superstructure – 30 residential blocks have foundations laid
However, it was noted during the oversight visit, that while positive progress was being made, the project was not without its challenges.
- Delays in the supply of pre-cast slabs by local suppliers. There is only one supplier in NKZN. The teams on site are now taking steps to ensure slabs are acquired from Gauteng to ensure there are minimal time delays.
- Civil unrest due to community members seeking employment. The project steering committee has been engaged to assist in managing the employment of people.
- Existing sewer pipes crossing the site project. This now sees excavation works being done extremely carefully to avoid damaging the pipes.
- A buffer area inside the construction site has slowed down the construction process, since the machines and workers cannot work freely. It was noted that the contractors are complying with the Environmental Management Plan and the buffer area has been barricaded accordingly.
Having been involved with the project since its inception, MEC Mahlaba said, “I am extremely happy with the good progress that has been made.”
In addition to this, he pointed out that through his current position, he would be ensuring that KZN residents would have access to quality and secure housing.
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