Is the award-winning Klarinet Ridge Integrated housing development in Mpumalanga Province the first fully-integrated, affordable and sustainable community housing project in South Africa?
Construction is ongoing, with 70% of the civil and electrical infrastructure for phase one completed and the balance planned for completion by the first quarter 2014. Almost one thousand six hundred subsidised houses have been completed and approximately 1 300 are already occupied by beneficiaries.
In the affordable, bonded side of the development, 100 stands have been sold with another 40 under conditional sales. Construction has started on 70 of the stands. There are currently 408 stands available, with a further 1 000 soon to be released. The Emalahleni Housing Institute acquired two stands on which they intend building 104 apartments for a rental scheme. A further three stands are in the process of being sold to a private developer, who will develop a further 200 apartments. Social amenities currently under construction in the development include a secondary school, community library and a clinic being established through the Provincial Public Works Department. A soccer arena is also planned and will be sponsored by one of the mining houses in the area. The current building projects are estimated to be completed in three to four years.
Improving the area, and providing dignity
This urban development will improve the area in general and will give people dignity with in-house bathrooms, built-in cupboards, tiled roofs, and high-quality streets, providing an overall high-quality life. Homeowners will form part of a community of salaried people with most mod cons, and serving as role models for young people, creating an aspirational environment. The integration aspect of the development will be further enhanced during the second phase where a shopping centre is envisaged as part of the development. With all the challenges, such as the availability of infrastructure, securing a clean water supply and waste-water treatment being resolved through the enhanced involvement and participation of the municipality, the entire Emalahleni district will benefit.
It is a well-known fact that South Africa has a housing supply and infrastructure shortage problem. Where there is property development, there is invariably an issue with access to finance and infrastructure. In Emalahleni, and specifically Klarinet Ridge, various affiliations have been formed with partners such as mining houses to face the challenges. Homeowners can buy an entry-level home, a stand with a modern, comfortable house, which can be extended and improved over time. The entire development is in line with municipal regulations. Future plans include a crèche, for which the developer is seeking Corporate Social Investment (CSI) partnerships for building and operating the facility professionally.
The development is on track and expanding, providing much-needed homes for the community and offering truly modern, cosmopolitan living, providing people with dignity. Housing is so much more than just shelter; it is about safety, status and family.