The development of Cato Manor has demanded an approach that moves beyond the provision of housing to address the pressing social and economic needs of the populace. Housing, however, remains a primary focus of the CMDP, which ultimately targets the delivery of 25 000 housing units in Cato Manor, to accommodate up to 150 000 people.

Housing projects are primarily funded through existing state sources. Working with its key partners, the KZN Department of Housing and the eThekwini Metro Housing Service Unit, the CMDA is currently approaching the delivery of 5 000 completed housing units.

Underpinning the housing programme is a development strategy which aims to gain the highest possible number of housing opportunities out of the available land; to broaden the ranges and variety of housing; to ensure that a high proportion of housing is affordable to low and middle income earners; and to avoid the creation of monotonous and environmentally unsustainable housing estates. Integral to the housing programme in Cato Manor is the supply of electricity and water reticulation to dwellings and the provision of a water-borne sewage system.

Housing Project Types

To create a residential environment in Cato Manor that encompasses a variety of housing opportunities, the CMDA identified four broad housing project types: Informal Settlement Upgrading Projects, Greenfields Incremental Projects, Social Housing and Credit-Linked Housing. These housing types and the way that projects have been packaged relate to social and economic factors and vary according to local needs.

Informal Settlement Upgrading Projects
There are six informal settlements in Cato Manor, housing approximately 7 500 families. Most of these settlements reach residential densities of over 90 shacks per hectare and many are situated on unstable land. Many shacks house multiple family units. The CMDA has focused much of its housing capacity on these settlements and its experience reveals that current housing subsidy models do not adequately allow for the realities of upgrading projects.

Three of the settlements have been substantially upgraded and the approach being taken by the CMDA on the balance of the upgrading projects involves installing access roads and bulk services, relocating families displaced by this intervention into Greenfield Projects (developed in parallel) and providing better transport links and more efficient waste management. Development options are then discussed with small groups of 50 to 100 families at a time. Upgrading takes place on a 'block by block' basis.

Greenfields Incremental Projects
Projects are developed within the available subsidy budget thus enabling new home owners to move into a small house without a debt burden. Extensions can be undertaken when affordable. Today, older Greenfield Incremental Projects show high levels of consolidation. In some areas almost every house has been extended, yielding augmented densities and presenting opportunities for rental income.

Social Housing
Consisting of 320 units, the Shayamoya Project is an important pilot in which community responses to the tenure option of rental and to multi-storey, higher density accommodation are being tested. This delivery model, however, offers limited scope for the very poor.

Credit-Linked Housing
Credit-linked Housing is aimed at families who can afford loan finance. In the development of three such projects in Cato Manor, the CMDA has acted as the site developer, with financial arrangements and project design structured in order to make houses affordable to lower income markets normally unable to access bond housing.


As an area characterised by a legacy of urban poverty and dislocation, Cato Manor has often presented a highly charged social and political environment, impacting directly on the CMDA's ability to proceed with housing programmes. Delivery has also been hampered by the emergence of powerful shacklords who benefit from crowded settlements. An exodus of skilled professionals from KwaZulu-Natal’s low-income housing industry over the last two years, apparently because of the high risks and relatively low returns of low-cost housing projects, has necessitated the cultivation within the CMDA of dedicated housing capacity. Establishing and mentoring a network of local emerging contractors to build houses for the upgrading projects has been a key aspect of this endeavour. The difficult topography and complex geo-technical conditions that prevail across much of the development area have provided further challenges to housing delivery.

Incorporation into the eThekwini Municipality

In view of the pending closure of the CMDA and the incorporation of its housing programmes into the eThekwini Municipality next year, individual housing projects are being consolidated into programmes to ensure streamlined and co-ordinated management. The preparation of new housing projects continues in order to ensure that the momentum of housing delivery is maintained during and after the incorporation process.


Avoiding the creation of a dormitory suburb has been a key objective of housing delivery in the context of the CMDP’s multi-sectoral development process. The CMDP has demonstrated that it is possible - and indeed essential – to transform housing projects into living environments. Optimism is palpable within Cato Manor’s communities; pride in home-ownership is clearly evident in the way peope are investing in the improvement of their properties. Ultimately, they will need to be more appropriately supported by public policy. Involving the communities from the outset of the project, as opposed to producing a pre-packaged 'product', demonstrably instils amongst people a sense of genuine ownership of the development process, of the completed structure and of the future.

Housing as at March 2002
Site completions 4 576
Housing completions 4 051
Cumulative shack relocations 1 110


Summary of Housing Projects
@ Sept ‘02
to be to be
by March ‘03
To be
Informal settlement Upgrading projects
Wiggins Umkhumbane
Old Dunbar
New Dunbar
Cato Crest Settled Area
1 350
Nsimbini Ph 1
Greenfields Incremental projects
Chesterville Incremental Ph 1
Chesterville Incremental Ph 2
Cato Crest Greenfields North
Wiggins Fast Track (E & W)
N & S of Booth Road
Wiggins Infill
1 036
Umkhumbaan Freeway Slopes
1 036
Technical College Interface
1 036
Hospital Site
1 036
Central Housing
Nsimbini Ph 2
Credit Linked housing
Chesterville Bond Ph 1-4
Umkhumbaan Infil
Grosvenor Road
Cato Crest Interface
Social housing
Shayamoya Ph 1
Shayamoya Infil
Social Housing Ikhaya
Umkhumbaan High Density
Roosfontein (Social Housing)
Part Hillary
Part Bellair
Aids Housing


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