The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) government has declared its inability to provide building materials to the fire-ravaged community of Clairwood, emphasizing legal restrictions due to the privately owned nature of the land.
Following a devastating fire that left more than 200 informal houses in ruins on Friday, many families in the south of Durban are now grappling with destitution. Government officials conducted an oversight visit to the area on Monday, revealing the challenges faced by the affected residents in utilizing privately owned land.
KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube expressed concern during her visit, highlighting the unauthorized use of privately owned land for construction. She clarified the government’s position, stating, “We cannot secure privately owned land as the government, but once people have invaded the land, we are expected as the government to come and assist.”
Dube-Ncube emphasized that allowing the fire victims to rebuild on the same privately owned land would be inappropriate. She explained, “We will have to provide land, but we can’t provide building material here because we will also be doing something illegal if we were to say to people, ‘here’s material – build at the same place where you are not supposed to be building.'”
As a solution, the provincial government pledged to offer proper housing to the affected families and assured them that suitable land would be identified for their resettlement. The challenge lies in navigating the legal complexities surrounding land use and ownership, adding a layer of difficulty to the already daunting task of rebuilding for the Clairwood community.