Human settlement development, Western Cape, South Africa

Aurecon was responsible for all the project management, consulting, civil and structural engineering as well as the community liaison, dispute resolution and subsidy application administration for the integrated human settlement development for the City of Mossel Bay.

Great Brak River, a former municipality, was merged into the greater Mossel Bay Municipality. Over time, a few densely populated informal settlements (Gauteng, Klipkop, Brandjesnes and Wolwedans) emerged on the periphery of the then formal township area. Suitable land for the further development of formal low cost human settlements is virtually non-existent due to the extremely hilly topography of the area and the very high cost of private land. Resettlement of the households to housing projects in the distant Mossel Bay was never an option and innovative solutions to the in-situ development challenges had to be found.

The scope of the development was the provision of 675 fully serviced sites with 40m2 houses (two bedrooms complete with bathroom, solar water geysers and electricity). A full level of municipal services infrastructure was installed and due to the steep slopes and related soil conditions, three foundation typologies had to be designed. They included re-enforced raft foundations on platforms, conventional strip footings with re-enforced plinth walls and rib-and-block floor slabs on columns.

Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) principles were employed to the optimum during the development of the services infrastructure and the contractor employed for the construction of the houses made use of local sub-contractors, with batches of houses allocated to these sub-contractors.

The process resulted in a high level of employment of local people throughout the development period, and building/transferring skills within the community. 

The project received a Special Merit Award from the Southern African Housing Foundation (SAHF) during its 2013 International Conference for their involvement in the project.

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