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Development explosion for Empangeni

10 000 housing units will bring about an influx of 50 000 people.

A MAJOR new residential and commercial development in Empangeni aimed at attracting middle class professionals, is set to increase the population of the town by 50 000 within a five-year period.

Mooted by the KZN Department of Human Settlements in conjunction with the City of uMhlathuze, the urban greenfield project entailing 10 000 housing units has received the buy-in from the private sector.

On Tuesday, the uMhlathuze Executive Committee announced the project had been awarded to Waterstone Country Estate/Ensureu Investment South Africa, who are also the owners of the site to be developed.

The proposed Waterstone Country Estate, which will alter Empangeni’s skyline, will be situated on Wilton Park Farm between Qalakabusha Prison and Dover Combined School, comprising 450 hectares.

A few years ago the same developer submitted a proposal to build an upmarket Waterstone Lifestyle Estate on the property, which included residential and retirement units.

Despite receiving environmental authorisation on 27 March 2009 and the green light from the KZN Development Facilitation Tribunal, the project was put on hold as the City experienced a decline in building activities and private developers ‘treaded cautiously’.

However, Deputy Municipal Manager: City Development, Lindani Khoza, said the integrated human settlement development was the ‘beginning of new things to come’ in Empangeni.

‘The Department of Human Settlements came up with this concept to create new cities in partnership with the private sector in close proximity to the central business district similar to Conurbia in Durban and Cosmo City in Gauteng. Bulk services for the project will cost in the region of R700-million,’ said Khoza.

Economic growth

Speaking from Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, Managing Director of the Waterstone Country Estate, Pierre Delvaux, told the Zululand Observer they were happy the City realised the importance of Empangeni’s economic growth in relation to Richards Bay and uMhlathuze as a whole.

‘We were concerned about the growth of Empangeni and are thrilled government shares our dream of creating a fully integrated commercial and residential development. This is set to increase the rates base and footprint of Empangeni by 50%.

‘From our initial concept seven years ago, we have scrapped the golf course estate and are bringing in a commercial, business and residential component catering for upmarket, medium and entry level consumers,’ said Delvaux.

Waterstone has also brought on board implementing agent Basil Read Developments, which has extensive experience in the integrated human settlement concept having being involved in Cosmo City, Savanna City and Malibongwe Ridge.

One Comment

  1. It’s very exciting to hear that such a nice developement is being planned for Empangeni.
    I cannot help but wonder though who is going to stay there – are they (developers/municipality) expecting a major influx of people to Empangeni. Where are these potential inhabitants going to work? Are there industrial-commercial developements in the pipeline that we are not aware of? Interest rates are going up and Bayside smelter is closing.

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