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Plan to upgrade informal settlements
​EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, MEC of Human Settlements
and Public Works Ravi Pillay, Chairperson of the City’s Human
Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Councillor Mondli
Mthembu and Councillor Ntando Khuzwayo at the Informal
Settlements Upgrade Summit.
ETHEKWINI Municipality has reserved R100 million to purchase land this year as part of the City’s key intervention and acceleration plan to address the housing backlog. An additional R300 million has been made available for the acceleration of the ablution facilities for informal settlements.

This was revealed by eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede during the Informal Settlements Upgrade Summit which was held over two days at the Karridene Protea Hotel in Illovo Beach between 12 and 13 February. The Summit saw robust discussions take place as stakeholders contributed towards a credible longterm plan to eradicate informal settlements. The Summit, which brought together different key stakeholders, was hosted in partnership by the Municipality and the provincial Department of Human Settlements and Public Works.

Mayor Gumede said it was important to follow proper procedures when building houses. “A major challenge we encounter is people having structures on private land. As government we cannot provide services on illegally occupied land,” she said. Mayor Gumede said while over 200 000 houses have been built in the City since 1994, there was still a huge need for housing provision.

MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works Ravi Pillay applauded eThekwini Municipality for providing interim basic services such as water and electricity to informal settlements. He said for the 2019/20 financial year, the budget for the Department is approximately R3.5 billion with R1 billion already set aside specifically for the upgrading of informal settlements of which the “eThekwini region will benefit vastly,” he said. He said while the need for land was real, government would not tolerate land invasion. “Government is working hard to respond to this challenge with credible and sustainable solutions to this legitimate demand.” Pillay said research commissioned by the University of KwaZulu-Natal has found that informal settlements have increasingly become terrains of “landlords and estate agents”.

He said research indicates that more than 20 percent of people in informal settlements pay rent with a further 40 percent having paid for the site they occupy. “Rather than denying this reality, our approach is to recognise the entrepreneurial spirit that has developed in this informal property market and to find ways to incentivise them into the mainstream,” he said.

Pillay said another area requiring intervention was social facilitation in informal settlements. The two-day summit received the thumbs up from stakeholders, including shack dweller’s association Abahlali baseMjondolo who said this was a step in the right direction.
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